Arrow-right Camera


Father seeks answers about his son’s death

Investigators say it is a possible homicide

Robert Dressel has no idea how or why his son died.

“We want to know what happened all right,” Dressel said from his home Wednesday, a day after 48-year-old Michael Dressel was found dead near Evergreen Elementary School.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office has labeled the case a possible homicide, though medical examiners are still trying to determine the exact cause of death. The second day of the investigation revealed few answers for sheriff’s deputies or Dressel’s family.

A Spokesman-Review carrier found Dressel’s body lying on a curb on West Eddy Avenue about 5:30 a.m. The Sheriff’s Office said Dressel may have been seen stumbling in the road earlier in the night. Blood from the scene still lies in the road and on the lawn.

Robert Dressel said his son was in good health, although he spent three days in the hospital after falling and suffering a concussion in his home a few months ago.

“I still don’t know if a car actually hit him or if he just fell down in the street and hit his head or what,” the elder Dressel said.

Sheriff’s deputies had asked for the public’s help finding a vehicle that may have been involved, then said in a news release Wednesday that the driver of the vehicle had been located and cleared of any wrongdoing. The vehicle in question showed no signs of a collision.

Deputy Mark Gregory said law enforcement is still working to determine if there was any criminal action in the case.

“We’re investigating it as a homicide until we can find evidence that differs from that,” he said.

The Medical Examiner’s office has yet to rule on the cause of death, although an autopsy was completed Tuesday. A spokeswoman at the office said it could be months before the last tests are finished.

Robert Dressel said his son, a Shadle Park High School graduate, worked for more than 20 years at Honeywell. He had a son of his own, also named Michael, who is 20.

Fifteen years ago, the late Michael Dressel was the center of several news stories after his wife at the time, Lisa, robbed a series of banks to pay off mortgage debt. Dressel did not know she hadn’t been making their mortgage payments until officers came to arrest his wife, according to Spokesman-Review news archives.

Dressel was forced to buy back his home after it had been foreclosed. Lisa Dressel pleaded guilty to two counts of bank robbery and was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

Robert Dressel said his son did well for himself, owning several nice cars and renting out a half-dozen homes.

They worked on several cars together, he said. Michael Dressel painted his father’s rare 1961 Oldsmobile Starfire convertible about 20 years ago, a work of art that still sits in the elder Dressel’s garage.

The younger of two brothers, Dressel was often at his parents’ house – just blocks away from his own home – for dinner on Saturdays.

“We always got along fine,” his father said. “He was an easygoing guy.”

Top stories in Spokane

Before the falls: Spokane and the history of river cities

The falls are beautiful, they’re powerful and they’re the reason for the city. Spokane is one of a small number of American cities that have falling water in their hearts, and it’s no accident. The reasons for a city are many, but chief among them is water – for drinking, for transportation, for industry and, most recently, for beauty.