Strangling suspect arrested

SATURDAY, DEC. 15, 2012

A man suspected of strangling a Spokane woman to death was arrested Friday morning in California after he was found sleeping in the victim’s car.

Police officers in Clearlake, in Northern California, responded to a report of a suspicious car parked behind a grocery store around 6 a.m. and found Tony T. Callihan inside the 2000 Dodge Stratus. He was taken into custody without incident, according to a Spokane Police Department news release.

Callihan was booked into Lake County Jail, sheriff’s officials there said.

Callihan had been seen allegedly stealing gas from a Central Washington University maintenance truck in Ellensburg on Monday. Clearlake is 100 miles northeast of Sacramento.

Callihan was named a suspect in the death of 48-year-old Michelle M. Koenen after police found her in her West Broadway Avenue apartment Dec. 7.

She was partially clothed in a bed and was under a blanket when officers found her, according to a recently filed search warrant. An autopsy determined she had been strangled.

Callihan’s stepfather, Kenneth Felix, told detectives the night Koenen’s body was discovered that his stepson had said he’d killed a woman at a “meth party” before fleeing the state, according to court documents. Felix told detectives Callihan drove what appeared to be Koenen’s car to his northeast Spokane home the night before the woman’s body was discovered, gathered some clothing and borrowed money.

Felix described Callihan’s demeanor that night as nervous, fidgety and “freaking out,” according to court documents.

Koenen’s funeral Mass is today at 11 a.m. at St. Charles Catholic Church, 4515 N. Alberta St. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to offset her funeral expenses may be made in her name at any Numerica Credit Union branch.

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