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One suspect released, two at large in Pullman assault

A Whitman County Superior Court judge released a Washington State University senior from custody Thursday pending a first-degree assault charge in an attack on a WSU instructor.

Joshua W. Nantz, 23, spent the night in jail after he was arrested by Pullman police detectives on Wednesday night for his involvement with the brutal attack on David Warner, an instructor in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies.

The remaining suspects, identified in court documents as 22-year-old Robert Bean, of Mukilteo, and 22-year-old John Cabanos-Soriano, of Everett, have not been interviewed by authorities, prosecutor Bill Druffel said.

Pullman Police officers arrested 21-year-old Madeline A. Fouts after they received an anonymous letter from Western Washington indicating Fouts as a suspect as well as Bean and Soriano, according to recently filed court documents filed in Whitman County Superior Court. Soriano also goes by the name, “Matt.”

Bean and Soriano agreed to meet Pullman detectives at Mukilteo Police Department at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, but Chief Gary Jenkins said they were a no-show. Detectives checked their homes, but they weren’t there either. If the suspects are not found overnight, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, Jenkins said.

Jenkins said Nantz’s release made it imperative for detectives to make contact with Bean and Soriano before they have a chance to speak with each other. Nantz is forbidden to talk with other suspects under the conditions of his release.

This is what Michelle Smathers, a friend of Warner, was afraid of. She told Judge David Frazier in a hearing Thursday she believed Nantz would speak speak to the remaining suspects and spoil the investigations if released. She’s also concerned Nantz may not return to court.

Pullman detectives are searching for the two suspects in Everett and Mukilteo with the help of Mukilteo Police officers and Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives got in touch with the suspects on the phone about an hour before the arranged meeting. They spoke with Soriano directly, but spoke with Bean’s mother.

Jenkins isn’t sure why they didn’t show up, but it could mean they are trying to flee the area or buy more time before they’re arrested, he said.

Bean and Robert are both acquaintances of Nantz and Fouts, Jenkins added, but they’re not students at WSU. They each face charges of first-degree-assault, which is a Class A felony.

The attack left Warner in critical condition for about two weeks. A portion of his skull was removed in surgery, court documents said. Warner’s condition was upgraded from critical to serious Thursday morning, according to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center staff.

Warner’s recovery is uncertain and he will likely have a “severe mental handicap,” detectives wrote after speaking with medical staff.

A more in-depth version of this story will appear in Friday’s print edition of The Spokesman-Review.

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