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Pair arrested in violent home invasion

Sat., July 23, 2011

Mead neighbor injured trying to aid father, son

Two suspects were arrested Friday on attempted murder charges after a home invasion in Mead in which a boy was tied up and his father was beaten, police say.

Early Friday, Crime Stoppers offered a reward for tips that led to the arrest of Gary L. Houchins, 29, and Cecelia L. Rocha, 19. The two turned themselves in to authorities hours later.

Detectives say the pair had discussed renting a room from a Mead resident on July 11. They returned around midnight when the man was gone and used zip ties and duct tape to immobilize his son, according to a news release from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

The two, who police say had baseball bats and a pistol, carried the boy to the basement, tied him to a wall stud and covered his head, then attacked his father as he arrived home, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The assailants were wearing pantyhose over their faces as well as baseball hats and hoods, but the victim recognized them during the struggle, sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Reagan said.

Houchins allegedly tried to snap the man’s neck, and he and Rocha told the victim “if he cooperated they would not kill his son,” according to the news release.

The son broke free and climbed out a basement window to seek help from a neighbor, who grabbed two ornamental swords and ran to help but was assaulted with a baseball bat when he entered the home, Reagan said. He required stitches to close a head wound.

The assailants fled through nearby woods, and a sheriff’s K-9 team located one of the stockings worn during the attack.

Houchins and Rocha are in the Spokane County Jail on charges of attempted first-degree murder, attempted first-degree robbery, first-degree kidnapping, third-degree assault and first-degree burglary.

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