June 1, 2011 in City

Body identified as man missing since December

By The Spokesman-Review
Spokane Police Department photo

Francisco Poncho Johnston
(Full-size photo)

A body found in Peaceful Valley has been identified as a Spokane County man reported missing in December.

The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Francisco Poncho Johnston’s identity this morning following an autopsy Tuesday.

Detectives do not suspect foul play, said Officer Jennifer DeRuwe, spokeswoman for the Spokane Police Department.

Johnston’s badly decomposed body was found in a heavily wooded area near 2000 W. Riverside Ave., Saturday about 7 p.m. after neighbors noticed a foul odor.

Medical examiners have not determined a cause of death. Spokane police asked for help finding Johnston Dec. 23 after he was last seen walking westbound from the bus plaza in downtown Spokane Dec. 18.

Johnston, 44, was to take a bus home to Airway Heights but never did. His roommate reported him missing.

Police said Johnston had the mental capacity of a 14-year-old because of head trauma and required daily medication to combat seizures.

Johnston was described as having a 24-year criminal history in Spokane County in a February 2010 Crime Stoppers news release.

He was arrested for second-degree assault that same month and did not have any felony warrants when he disappeared.

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