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In brief: Investigators testify in death review

Wed., Oct. 12, 2011

CHEHALIS, Wash. – A now-retired sheriff’s detective who re-investigated the 1998 shooting death of former Washington State Patrol Trooper Ronda Reynolds has told an inquest jury he stands by the conclusion he reached in 2001 – that she killed herself.

Former Lewis County sheriff’s Detective Glade Austin testified Tuesday in Superior Court that Reynolds’ husband of 11 months was leaving her for his ex-wife and she had racked up $25,000 in credit card debt. Austin said Reynolds told a friend during a previous marriage that if her husband divorced her, she would use a gun to kill herself and “make it look like someone else would do it.”

The lead investigator in the original sheriff’s investigation – Jerry Berry – testified Tuesday that Reynolds’ closest friends told him she would never have killed herself.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod called the inquest in hopes of clearing doubts surrounding Reynolds’ death. Testimony continues today.

DSHS chief to discuss proposed cuts

Susan Dreyfus, secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services, will discuss proposed budget cuts on Oct. 19 in Spokane, one of several town hall meetings being held throughout Washington.

As a result of state budget shortfalls, the department has responded to Gov. Chris Gregoire’s request for proposed reductions of up to 10 percent over the next two years.

Dreyfus will discuss the effects of past cuts, and explain what reductions may come, at 5:30 p.m. at the department’s Spokane Valley building, 8517 E. Trent Ave., Suite 101.

Stakeholders and local community leaders are encouraged to attend.

Body identified as Brewster woman

WATERVILLE, Wash. – The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said a body found Saturday near Bridgeport has been identified as 59-year-old Vickey Lee Renner of Brewster, Wash.

She was killed by blows to the head and neck.

Sheriff’s detectives are investigating the homicide. Brewster police are helping.

Feds investigating how grizzly died

BOISE – Federal wildlife managers are investigating the death of a grizzly bear in southeastern Idaho.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a statement Tuesday saying hunters came across the dead bear in late September in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. The agency says an examination of the carcass and the site indicates the animal did not die of natural causes.

The grizzly bear is classified as a threatened species in the lower 48 states and protected by federal law.

A North Idaho man was accused earlier this year of illegally shooting and killing a grizzly bear at his home in May.

Federal prosecutors later dropped the misdemeanor charge against Jeremy Hill, who as part of the deal agreed his actions violated an Endangered Species Act regulation against removing nuisance bears.


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