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Cop honored for tracking triple killer

The body of Dustin Gilman is placed in the medical examiner’s van after it was discovered on property along the Little Spokane River on Feb. 13. A Spokane police officer who worked to track Gilman will be honored with the Chief's Citation Award. (SRphoto/Colin Mulvany)

A Spokane police officer is being honored for his work in the hours after a mother and her two children were found murdered in February.

 Officer Jerry Anderson will receive the Chief's Citation Award for helping secure a federal search warrant that led police to the location of triple killer Dustin Gilman, police announced Thursday in their monthly newsletter.

Anderson and his colleagues were trying to find Gilman, 22, after Tracy Ader, 32, and her two sons, Damien, 10, and Kadin, 8, were found strangled in their home at 4411 N. Whitehouse St. on Friday, Feb. 10.

Anderson worked through the night and into the next day trying to find Gilman. He learned by the middle of the morning on Feb. 11 that U.S. Marshal's Service has superior equipment for tracking cell phone signals.

Anderson was not familiar with federal search warrants and had never been trained to write one, but he worked with federal agents over the next 22 hours to secure the warrants. His work led police to Gilman's body on Monday, Feb. 13. Gilman had shot himself to death.

“Many officers were outstanding during this investigation, but despite having to take on procedures that he had never seen before, Officer Anderson did not rest until he had done everything he could do to bring justice to a shattered family,” Interim Police Chief Scott Stephens wrote.

Anderson is to receive a plaque at the Spokane Police Department's awards ceremony in 2013.

Though the killer is dead, the investigation into the murders is ongoing, Detective Jeff Barrington said Thursday. Barrington said he's awaiting lab tests.

Past coverage:

April 17: Police recover vest linked to triple murders

Cops recover vest linked to triple murder

Preston Kahanu is pictured in this Feb. 28 photo with his girlfriend, Saundra Warrington, and their baby, Mason, at their home on North Howard Street. (SRPhoto/Colin Mulvany)

Spokane police today seized a bullet proof vest and video game console from the home of a Spokane man who was one of the last people to see triple homicide suspect Dustin W. Gilman alive.

No one was arrested today, but Detective Jeff Barrington said the investigation into the items, which were stolen from the home of triple murder victim Tracy Ader, 32, and her sons, as well as the location of other stolen property, is ongoing

Police located the vest and gaming machine in a home at 4108 N. Howard, where Gilman played video games with Preston Kahanu on Feb. 10, just hours after Gilman is believed to have strangled Ader and her sons, Damien, 10, and Kadin, 8.

Kahanu, 25, told The Spokesman-Review today that he found the vest in a duffel bag in his garage a few weeks ago. He brought into his house but didn't contact police because he says he was scared to talk to them about it. He suspects Gilman, 22, left in the garage and insists he never saw Gilman with it.

Kahanu said police obtained a search warrant for his home after tracking the Internet Protocol address being used by a PlayStation 3 stolen from the Ader home.

Kahanu said Gilman brought that console to his home when he stopped by to play Call of Duty. Kahanu said it was common to do that, and that Gilman said he would pick it up late. So when Gilman was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Feb. 13, Kahanu just figured he would keep it.

“I thought I'd scored a free PS3, but it ended up being stolen,” Kahanu said.

Kahanu said police were looking for guns stolen from the Ader home, but they didn't find any at his house. He said Gilman showed him a .357 pistol but no other weapons.

Barrington declined to discuss details of the investigation but said it's ongoing and arrests are possible.

Past coverage:

Feb. 15: Gilman used victim's phone to contact her family

Feb. 14: Gilman called father before bodies were found

Feb. 11: Killer sought in Spokane triple homicide

Probe continues into triple homicide

“It was weird. We were in the middle of the game and he got up and said ‘Oh, I gotta go,’ ” Preston Kahanu said of triple-murder suspect Dustin Gilman. (SRphoto/Colin Mulvany)

Preston Kahanu was asleep when Dustin Gilman called him that Friday morning, looking to hang out and play video games.

Gilman (pictured) stopped by Kahanu’s home in north Spokane about 10:45 a.m. but left abruptly after a couple of hours.

Kahanu, 25, now realizes he and his girlfriend, Saundra Warrington, 20, might have been the last to see the suspected triple killer alive. It was Feb. 10 and police believe Gilman, a 22-year-old Spokane native, had strangled Tracy A. Ader, 32, and her two sons earlier that day. They say he shot himself to death that evening in a wooded area in north Spokane County.

“There’s a lot of unknowns here,” Jeff Barrington, the lead detective on the case for the Spokane Police Department, said Tuesday. “We’re still investigating the whole thing.”

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 15: Gilman used victim's phone to contact her family

Feb. 14: Gilman called father before bodies were found

Feb. 13: Body of triple murder suspect found north of Spokane

Feb. 13: Killing suspect remains at large

Feb. 11: Killer sought in Spokane triple homicide

Public invited to Aders’ memorial

Melted and lit candles mix on the curb at the Ader family memorial at Heroy Avenue and Whitehouse Street Sunday. (SRphoto/Colin Mulvany)

A mother and her two sons killed in a triple homicide last week will be remembered Sunday.

 The public is invited to attend the memorial service for Tracy Ader, 32, and her sons Damien, 10, and Kadin, 8, who police say were strangled in their home at 4411 N. Whitehouse St. Friday by Dustin William Gilman, 22.

 Gilman, who had been staying with the family for several months, was found dead Monday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.

Ader's stepfather, Steve Ponsness, said today that the public has been overwhelming supportive. They're holding the service at Turning Point Open Bible church, 11911 N. Division St., at 3 p.m. to make sure everyone can attend.

“The public has just been awesome, so how could I deny the public from being there?” Ponsness said. “That'd be just stupid.”

Ponsness' brother, Dave, will host the service.

“God has given me the strength to be able to basically deal with everything and not break down emotionally,” Ponsness said. “Until yesterday.”

Ader and her sons were found dead in the basement of the home Friday. The boys’ bodies were located near marijuana plants in the basement.

Ponsness said Tracy's husband, Nick, is authorized to grow marijuana for medicinal purposes because of ailments like gouty arthritis.

Tracy was visiting him in the hospital Thursday and Friday, where he was being treated for pancreatitis, when she returned home Friday to check on the boys, who weren't in school that morning.

The police investigation into the triple homicide is ongoing.

Ponsess said he's still struggling to understand why thishappened, though he realizes he may never know.

“It's almost like he had a split personality, because there's no way in this world I would have ever suspected him of doing something like this, because those kids loved him,” Ponsness said of Gilman.

He said Damien and Kadin fought like brothers do, but “I was watching them mature to the point where I could just see them growing up into a great little young men,” Ponsness said. “To have them ripped away like that is just something that's really hard to swallow.”

A fund to help cover funeral expenses for the Aders is available at Numerica Credit Union.

Read their obituary here.

Gilman used Aders’ phones after murder

Triple murder suspect Dustin William Gilman used his victim’s cellphone to text message her husband after he killed her, according to new court documents.

Nick Ader, who was in the hospital with pancreatitis, told police he received two text messages from his wife’s phone at 9:49 a.m. and 9:51 a.m. Friday saying she was taking one of their sons to the hospital because of a fever.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 14: Gilman called father before bodies were found

Feb. 13: Body of triple murder suspect found north of Spokane

Feb. 13: Killing suspect remains at large

Feb. 11: Killer sought in Spokane triple homicide

New details in triple homicide case

Tracy Ader and her sons, 10-year-old Damien and 8-year-old Kadin, are shown in this undated family photo.

A man suspected of murdering a woman and her two sons told his father he’d shot someone before police even knew there was a crime scene Friday.

Spokane police were notified by 911 about 6:38 p.m. that Larry Gilman was talking to his son, Dustin Gilman, on the phone and that his son had confessed to shooting someone and said he was lost in the woods.

Larry Gilman told police that his son told him he’d been “partying all night on the South Hill” when he woke up with a gun and a dead person next to him, according to information released Tuesday.

Read the rest of my story here.

Suspect’s body found; questions remain

The body of Dustin Gilman is placed in the medical examiner’s van after it was discovered on property along the Little Spokane River on Monday. (Colin Mulvany/SRphoto)

A tracked cell phone signal led police Monday to the body of the suspected killer they’d been hunting ever since a mother and her two children were found dead Friday in their North Spokane home.

A police dog found 22-year-old Dustin William Gilman’s body in on a forested hillside near the Wandermere area, just north of Spokane city limits, about 10 a.m.

Gilman’s father and others had speculated earlier that he’d shot himself after fleeing the murder scene but Spokane police did not disclose how the suspect died or whether firearms were found near the body.

Gilman is the only suspect in the murders of Tracy Ann Ader, 32, and her sons, 8-year-old Kadin, and 10-year-old Damien, who were found dead in their home at 4411 N. Whitehouse St.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Feb. 13: Killing suspect remains at large

Feb. 11: Killer sought in Spokane triple homicide

Killer still sought in triple homicide

A 2007 Nissan Pathfinder is towed Sunday after being taken from the Aders’ home and left parked near Monroe Street and Wellesley Avenue. (SRphoto/Colin Mulvany)

UPDATE: Gilman's body has been found. Read more here and look for updates.

Police continue to search for a man suspected of killing two young boys and their mother Friday in Spokane.

Dustin William Gilman, 22, (pictured) is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who sees him or has information on where he may be should call 911.

Gilman has been wanted since Friday, when the bodies of Tracy Ader, 32, and her 8- and 10-year-old boys were found in their home at 4411 N. Whitehouse St. Police believe he may be heavily armed with weapons stolen from the home, including a bullet-proof vest.

Police believe Gilman murdered the three while Ader's husband, Nick Ader, was in the hospital. 

Gilman has been staying with the Aders for the last few months. Tracy Ader's mother and stepfather said he spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with them at their Spokane Valley and was great with the boys.

Ader and her sons are pictured left in a photo provided by her family.

Ader worked at Pitney Bowes, a business service company, with Kimberly Rae Schmidt, 34, who was found shot to death in her north Spokane home on New Year’s Day. No one has been arrested in that case, but sheriff’s detectives say they have a person of interest.

“Tracy was having a hard time dealing with that because (Schmidt) was a direct coworker of hers,” said Steve Ponsness, Ader's stepfather.

Ponsnesskept a gun at his side Saturday as police searched for Gilman, who is believed to have stolen Ader's 2007 Nissan Pathfinder.

A citizen spotted the Pathfinder near West Wellesley Avenue and North Monroe Street Sunday and notified police, who are searching it for evidence.

Gilman is a convicted felon who was sentenced to nine months in jail in 2009 after pleading guilty to two counts of second-degree trafficking in stolen property. He has an extensive juvenile criminal history, including convictions in Kootenai County in 2005 for stolen property and car theft. Court records show he was arrested for assault when he was 10.

See a picture story about the case here.