March 26, 2009 in City, Region

Woman arrested, man sought in Okanogan homicide

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Okanogan County Sheriff's Office photo

Brent L. Phillips, 38, of Spokane, was arrested in Seattle on Thursday night in the killing of Michelle L. Kitterman, who was found March 1, 2009, in a driveway near Tonasket.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

A Spokane woman was arrested early Thursday in connection with the homicide of a pregnant Okanogan County woman earlier this month, authorities said. A Spokane man is being sought as a suspect.

Tansy Fae Mathis, 29, was arrested in Spokane in connection with the killing of Michelle L. Kitterman, 25, of Tonasket, whose body was found along a driveway on Stalder Road near Tonasket on March 1, according to the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators have identified Brent L. Phillips, 38, of Spokane, as a second suspect, Sheriff Frank Rogers said in a press release.

The sheriff said he is asking for the public’s help in finding Phillips, who is 5-foot-11, weighs between 200 and 220 pounds and has brown hair. He goes by the nickname Hollywood.

Anyone with information about Phillips is asked to call local law enforcement. In Spokane, Crime Check can be reached at (509) 456-2233. The Okanogan County Sheriff is at (509) 422-7232.

Rogers said Kitterman, who was pregnant, was beaten and stabbed several times and left at the scene to die. She tried to make her way up a driveway but was found dead the next morning.

Okanogan sheriff’s detectives for the past several weeks have been working leads, which led them to Spokane, where Spokane police have assisted, the sheriff said.

Initially, authorities said they were unsure that the death was a murder.

Rogers today said that detectives were being cautious in their earlier statements because they weren’t sure what kind of crime they might have been dealing with, although they were suspicious of foul play early in the probe.

An autopsy provided additional information that confirmed the homicide, he said.

Rogers said detectives have obtained statements suggesting possible motives, but no clear motive has emerged in the investigation.

Okanogan deputies today are transporting Mathis back to that county, where she is going to be booked into jail on a first-degree murder charge, the sheriff said. Mathis reportedly has ties to Okanogan County.


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