April 29, 2014 in City

Two charged in death of woman found in trunk

By The Spokesman-Review
 

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.

But Sifuentez, who appeared in court Monday on a second-degree murder charge, says Colby stabbed and beat her mother to death, and he helped her clean up the scene. A judge ordered Sifuentez, a five-time convicted felon, held on $750,000 bond.

A murder charge was also filed against Colby on Monday, according to jail records.

Chapin, Colby, Sifuentez and the couple’s children were living 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 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.

The man tipped off police that the body was in the car. When detectives arrived, they noticed what appeared to be a human hand protruding from the trunk into the car’s back seat.

Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies searched a storage unit Friday that Colby told them housed the baseball bat used to kill her mother. She told police Sifuentez ordered her to get rid of the bat, but she deposited it in the storage unit.

Colby was ordered held on $25,000 bond Friday for charges of rendering criminal assistance and trafficking in stolen property. Colby told investigators she and Sifuentez used her mother’s bank account to buy mobile phones off the Internet they then sold for cash. She has not yet appeared in court on the murder charge.

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

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