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In brief: Candle suspected in fire that killed girl

Tue., Feb. 26, 2013

Investigators believe a lit candle caused the fire that killed a 3-year-old girl in the Columbia Basin town of Lind last week.

The medical examiner’s office in King County, where she died, identified the girl as Amy Garcia.

A release from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office said the candle was on a dresser in the parents’ bedroom, where the child had been napping. Also on top of the dresser were clothes and a box of disposable diapers.

There were no smoke detectors in the house, the release said.

The fire broke out around 6:40 p.m. Wednesday. The girl’s mother suffered injuries to her face and hands trying to reach her daughter, the release said.

Firefighters were able to remove her from the house.

The girl had severe burns over a large portion of her body. She was transported to Ritzville Hospital, then Sacred Heart Medical Center and eventually Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where she died Thursday.

Officials identify man found dead

The Spokane Medical Examiner’s Office on Monday identified a man found in a ditch west of Medical Lake and said he apparently froze to death, but the manner of death is still being investigated.

Bruce A. King, 53, was found in a ditch Sunday near the intersection of West Hallett Road and North Strangland Road west of Medical Lake.

Spokane County sheriff’s deputies responded at about noon Sunday, and major crimes detectives investigated what they labeled at the time as a suspicious death. Deputy Mark Gregory said detectives found no obvious signs of trauma.

Ex-car lot owner sentenced to jail

The former owner of an auto sales lot in Spokane was ordered Monday to pay nearly $180,000 in sales tax that he collected on transactions but never turned over to the state.

Marc Eugene Reed, 45, who used to operate the now-defunct Alpine Auto Wholesale, also must serve 45 days in jail after pleading guilty in Spokane County Superior Court to felony theft of sales tax and filing false state tax returns.

Reed and his late mother, Linda Lee Reed, acknowledged to state attorney general’s office investigators that they had failed to remit the sales taxes that they collected on auto transactions in 2009 and 2010 but were “going to get caught up later,” according to the state Department of Revenue, which requested the criminal investigation.

Robber at large; police ask for help

Police are searching for a knife-wielding robber who stole an undisclosed amount of cash from Sunset Food Mart in Browne’s Addition about 1:20 p.m. Friday.

Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said a man used a large knife to threaten employees at the store at 2627 W. Sunset Blvd. “They attempted a canine track but did not locate him,” DeRuwe said.

The robber is described as light-skinned black or Hispanic and was wearing a black and white coat and jeans. His face was partially covered by a bandanna. He exited the store and ran westbound down the alley, DeRuwe said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233 or (509) 242-TIPS (8477).

Shooting leaves few clues for police

Spokane police are seeking information about a shooting that took place early Monday on Baldwin Avenue between Cincinnati and Hamilton streets.

Witnesses reported seeing a man in dark clothes standing near a small, white four-door car just before 2 a.m. He fired several rounds from a handgun at a small dark truck with a canopy that was stopped in the street, a news release from the Spokane Police Department said.

The victim left the area without contacting police, the release said.

Officers founds several shell casings in the street and bullet fragments that show shots were fired toward the west.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233 or (509) 242-TIPS (8477).

Crushed cars fall from listing barge

SEATTLE – A barge loaded with crushed cars reached its destination Monday after emergency repairs fixed a leak that caused the vessel to list and drop several of the cars into Tacoma’s Commencement Bay, the Coast Guard said.

The barge was moved to Schnitzer Steel, Lt. Ryan Beck said. That’s where the load of scrapped cars from Canada will be unloaded for recycling.

There’s still no exact count of how many cars fell into the water Sunday, state Ecology Department spokeswoman Linda Kent said late Monday.

The first priority is getting the rest of the cars off the barge, she said. Then officials can figure out how to get the dumped cars out of 242 feet of water.

The Amix Marine Services barge, about 200 feet long, carried a load of flattened cars stacked more than 10 layers high with other metal debris on top. It was bound for the Schnitzer metal recycling yard on the Hylebos Waterway, company spokeswoman Louise Bray said.

Crews launch rescue of two snowmobilers

ENUMCLAW, Wash. – King County sheriff’s search and rescue teams on foot, on snowmobiles and snowcats are working their way toward two snowmobilers who got stranded by whiteout conditions in the Cascade Mountains east of Enumclaw, Wash.

Deputy William Akers said about 40 volunteers were still trying to reach the man and woman late Monday night.

The 44-year-old man and his companion reportedly set out Sunday on a day trip, but the weather got so bad on their return trip that they built a snow cave and spent the night there.

The man was able to walk out far enough Monday morning to get a cellphone signal and contact his daughter, who called the sheriff’s office. He was also able to provide GPS coordinates.

KING-TV reported the terrain near Blowout Mountain is rugged and the snow is so deep it is hard for rescuers to move. The last report from the couple said they were very cold.


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