A woman walking her dog along the Spokane River this morning was fatally stabbed in what authorities say appears to have been a random attack.
The woman, whose identity was immediately unavailable, suffered multiple stab wounds to her upper body shortly after 8 a.m. and was rushed to a local hospital, according to the Spokane Police Department. Police reported around 2 p.m. that the woman had died.
In a 2:15 p.m. news conference, Chief Scott Stephens said “anything that can be done will be done” to find the attacker but that police have no suspects at this time. He asked that anyone with information call the police department.
This morning, a man had been detained for questioning but he’s been released and is not considered a suspect, police said this afternoon, meaning the killer remains on the loose.
“We’ve got everything we have on this,” Capt. Brad Arleth said, explaining the department has brought in extra officers and moved crime-scene experts into the area. “We’ll continue to work on it through the day.”
Police were alerted at 8:11 a.m. by callers to 911 reporting a woman screaming in the area of Magnolia Street and South Riverton Avenue. A construction worker nearby found the victim with multiple stab wounds, police said, and the uninjured dog standing by her.
Others told officers they saw a man running from the area and provided brief descriptions. A detective responding to the area spotted a man matching the description and who became evasive after realizing the investigator was looking at him, Arleth said. The man was detained for questioning.
Meanwhile, officers and paramedics tending to the injured woman, who appeared to be in her 50s, were able to get a brief description of the attacker, who she said jumped from behind some bushes, police said.
The man seen running from the area was described as a black male, early to mid 30s, black pants, black hooded jacket and a “crazy eye.”
Random violence in Spokane is rare. Authorities say attackers and their victims typically know each other, which is no less tragic but what makes this morning’s assault so perplexing.
The attack occurred in a predominantly residential area on a popular makeshift trail along the south bank of the Spokane River.