In brief: Victim’s purse found in suspect’s home
A sex offender accused of killing a 48-year-old Spokane woman had the victim’s purse in his apartment when detectives searched it after his arrest in a separate rape case, according to newly filed court documents.
Police identified Derrick Ross Vargas, 24, as a suspect after he was arrested on suspicion of rape after a traffic stop Sept. 23.
Search warrants filed Thursday say the tire treads on Vargas’ truck appear to match those left where Evon Moore’s body was found on Aug. 13. Her neck was broken, but medical examiners said they couldn’t determine if she died of strangulation. She appeared to have been run over, and her skull was split open.
Police saw what appeared to be blood splatters, human tissue and a single hair on the outside of the truck.
Detectives found a pair of bloodied shoes in Vargas’ East Trent Avenue apartment that matched the shoe tread pattern found near Moore’s body.
Vargas pleaded not guilty Wednesday to first-degree rape for an alleged attack on a prostitute that led to his arrest. He has not yet been charged in Moore’s death.
Meghann M. Cuniff
Lands Council wins reforesting grant
The Lands Council of Spokane received a $20,000 grant from Tom’s of Maine to plant 10,000 ponderosa pines in urban areas.
The nonprofit group is looking for 750 volunteers to plant the tree seedlings during its Reforest Spokane Day on Oct. 22.
The grant came from an online competition, where people voted for their favorite charitable projects. About 20 projects nationwide were submitted. Reforest Spokane finished in second place.
The grant will pay for the tree seedlings and other costs related to the Reforest Spokane event, said Amanda Swan, the Lands Council’s development director.
To sign up, potential volunteers should visit www.landscouncil.org.
Fair Housing Alliance receives $325,000
The Northwest Fair Housing Alliance has received a $325,000 federal grant to develop a unit to investigate unfair lending and mortgage rescue scams.
The three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will allow the Spokane-based agency to investigate complaints of predatory loans as well as advocate on behalf of consumers in 17 Eastern Washington counties, according to Marley Hochendoner, executive director of the alliance.