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Woman says she was held at gunpoint, sexually assaulted off Interstate 90 in Spokane Valley

UPDATED: Mon., March 20, 2017, 10:32 p.m.

A woman told Spokane Valley detectives that a man held her at gunpoint and forced her to perform oral sex in a secluded area off Interstate 90.

A state trooper found the woman walking along the freeway Saturday night, waving her arms and screaming for help, according to a news release from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

She told detectives that her truck had run out of gas and she parked at the 7-Eleven at Division Street and Second Avenue. She started walking toward the Motel 6 where a friend was staying – about 7 miles away near the Argonne Road freeway exit – and a man stopped his car to offer her a ride.

The woman said she was talking on her cellphone as they traveled east on I-90 “but the suspect grabbed the phone, tossed it in the back seat and told her it was the last call she would ever make,” the release said.

The man then ordered the woman to remove pieces of clothing, got off the freeway at Argonne and took her to the park between the freeway and Mission Avenue, the release said. She said he pointed a black handgun at her and forced her to perform oral sex before driving away.

The woman told detectives the assault happened in an A-frame structure located between the park and the freeway. She said she put her clothes back on and hopped the fence along I-90 to summon help. She was eventually taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

The suspect is described as a white man in his 40s with a goatee, a mustache and shoulder-length straight brown hair. He was driving a tan or silver Chevy Cavalier from the early 2000s.

According to court documents, deputies asked the phone service provider AT&T to ping a cellphone they believed belonged to the suspect, hoping to get his real-time location on Saturday night. But they did so without applying for a search warrant.

Court documents indicate that Sgt. Jack Rosenthal discussed the investigation with Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cipolla. Given that the suspect was considered armed and dangerous, they determined it was “unsafe and imprudent to draft an application and present it to a judge before obtaining the real-time device location information.”

Documents indicate that AT&T pinged the phone, but it’s not clear if deputies determined the suspect’s location. No arrests had been made as of Monday evening. Superior Court Judge Tim Fennessey retroactively approved the search warrant early Sunday.

Anyone with information about the alleged assault or suspicious activity near Mission Park is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.



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