March 27, 2009 in City

One arrested, one sought in slaying of pregnant woman

By The Spokesman-Review

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

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.

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

He goes by the nickname “Hollywood” and has had several convictions for assault, court records show.

Anyone with information about Phillips is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233 or the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office at (509) 422-7232.

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

Okanogan sheriff’s detectives tracked leads to Spokane, where city police have assisted, the Okanogan County sheriff said.

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

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 were to transport Mathis back to that county to be booked into jail on a first-degree murder charge. Mathis reportedly has ties to Okanogan County, the sheriff said.

Staff writer Meghann M. Cuniff contributed to this report.

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