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Spokane

Homicide victim found in trunk identified

UPDATED: Mon., April 28, 2014, 11:31 a.m.

The 51-year-old woman found dead in the trunk of her car last week on the South Hill may have been inside for weeks while her daughter and boyfriend tried to hide the body, according to court documents.

Latanya Clara Chapin died of injuries to the head and neck, an autopsy by the Spokane County Medical Examiner showed. Chapin’s daughter, 29-year-old Rachael Colby, told investigators her boyfriend, Juan Sifuentez, beat Chapin to death with a baseball bat sometime in late February, and she helped conceal evidence.

The three were living together at a residence off Argonne Road in Spokane Valley, according to court documents. A man who shares a child with Chapin told police she approached him in February saying she was fearful of her daughter’s friends. Sifuentez, 32, reportedly goes by the nickname “Trouble,” according to court documents.

Chapin made plans to stay with relatives in the Tri-Cities at the end of February. She never made it. Chapin’s sister contacted police to report her missing earlier this month, according to court documents.

Colby and Sifuentez, who have children together, told their landlord and another relative that Chapin left town in February without saying where she was going, according to court documents.

A friend told police that he had been approached by the couple to help dispose of a body. He saw blood-stained blankets in the couple’s garage but declined to look inside the trunk. The couple left the car containing Chapin’s body outside the man’s home near Underhill Park, but he told them he wanted nothing to do with it, the man told investigators.

At one point, the man promised to follow the couple to a dump site and give them a ride back to town, but he stopped tailing them and left, according to court documents.

Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies searched a storage unit Friday that Colby told them housed the baseball bat used to kill her mother. She was ordered held on $25,000 bond Friday for charges of rendering criminal assistance and trafficking in stolen property. Chapin told investigators she and Sifuentez bought mobile phones off the Internet using her mother’s bank account they then sold for cash.

The couple was evicted in mid-March from the duplex where they lived with Chapin, their landlord told police.

Sifuentez is expected to make his first court appearance this afternoon.



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