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Monday, July 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane police investigating 33-year-old man for homicide in the death of his mother in her downtown apartment

UPDATED: Tue., June 25, 2019, 11:05 a.m.

The Park Tower Apartments in Spokane, as pictured Monday, June 24, 2019. Spokane police say 64-year-old Sharon Simpson-White, who lived on the 17th floor, was found on her apartment by paramedics showing no signs of life. Police suspect Simpson-White’s 33-year-old son of involvement in her death. (Jonathan Glover / The Spokesman-Review)
The Park Tower Apartments in Spokane, as pictured Monday, June 24, 2019. Spokane police say 64-year-old Sharon Simpson-White, who lived on the 17th floor, was found on her apartment by paramedics showing no signs of life. Police suspect Simpson-White’s 33-year-old son of involvement in her death. (Jonathan Glover / The Spokesman-Review)

On the floor was her body, and carved into the wall with a butcher’s knife were the words “die” and “kill.”

That was the scene awaiting paramedics and police June 12 as they entered a 17th floor unit at the Park Tower Apartments in downtown Spokane, rented by 64-year-old Sharon Simpson-White.

Police suspect her son, a 33-year-old transient, killed her by administering a lethal dose of heroin or methamphetamine. He has not been arrested, but police are searching for him, records indicate.

In a search warrant filed Monday in Spokane Superior Court, Det. Paul Lebsock with the Spokane Police Department gives details of the investigation into Simpson-White’s death, which includes interviews with several family members, some who reported the victim’s son called them that night saying “looks like mom’s taking her last breath.”

At about midnight, medics with the Spokane Fire Department entered the unit to find Simpson-White laying on her back in the living room and her son standing nearby telling them to “leave her alone.”

“They found Sharon with no signs of life, and there were no signs of struggle or trauma on her body,” Lebsock wrote.

When they attempted CPR, records say, Simpson-White’s son became “aggressive and agitated,” saying he “did not want his mother to be revived” and that “this was what she wanted.” Lebsock notes that at some point he became so angry he tore out a window screen in the woman’s bedroom.

The suspect’s brother, 28-year-old Joel Taitch, said he too received a call saying their mother was dying.

When he arrived at the apartment, he told police his brother ran away just as officers arrived. Taitch described him as “mentally ill, unstable, and a heavy drug user,” records say.

Taitch, the suspect’s 28-year-old brother, is accused of homicide in a separate incident. He is charged with the October killing of Eddie Daniels III, a 15-year-old student at Lewis and Clark High School.

Other family members described the suspect in Simpson-White’s death as a “manipulative and dishonest” person who would often ask his mother for money.

The woman’s boyfriend, Jefferson Simmons, reported that Simpson-White and her son would often get high together in her apartment. In one instance, records day, the suspect gave his mother a dose of heroin or meth to relieve her pain, possibly from a shoulder burn she sustained after falling on a space heater.

Simmons also told detectives that the son struck him in the head June 7, possibly with a 12-inch-long metal pipe, as he left the apartment bathroom.

Surveillance video reviewed by apartment managers and described to Lebsock shows Simmons being removed from the apartment on a stretcher. Simmons told the detective he didn’t remember much before the incident, other than the suspect yelling at his mother and carving “kill” and “die” on the walls with a knife.

Another surveillance video reviewed by Lebsock showed a woman leaving Simpson-White’s apartment before the 911 call was placed on June 12. Records say she appeared distraught and elected to take the stairs rather than wait for the elevator.

About 20 minutes earlier, the video shows the suspect and the woman entering the same unit. Police are still looking for the woman.

After searching the apartment, police found a small amount of blood in the bedroom, and a glass pipe in the kitchen sink, along with a knife, records state. They also found a black zippered pouch in the living room area, and inside a syringe and an iron bar, about 8- to-12 inches in length and one inch in diameter.

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