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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Woman was strangled, autopsy finds

A mother of five found dead in her Deer Park home on Saturday was strangled, according to the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office.

An autopsy concluded Chanin Starbuck, 42, was a victim of homicide, a medical examiner’s office employee said Tuesday.

Deputies found Starbuck dead in her rental home at 509 N. Reiper St. in Deer Park about 8:30 a.m. after someone called 911 concerned about uncollected mail and packages at the home. There were no signs of forced entry, said Spokane County sheriff’s Lt. Steve Barbieri.

No one has been arrested in connection with the case.

Detectives are working to recreate a timeline of Starbuck’s activities and interactions in the last week, Barbieri said.

“We’ve got to understand what occurred, who she was with, and determine who would have means and motive, and that takes time,” Barbieri said. “We haven’t necessarily ruled anybody a specific suspect; we also haven’t ruled anybody as not somebody we would look into.”

Barbieri said evidence has been submitted to the state crime lab for expedited testing.

“We’re trying to let the evidence dictate the who, what, where, when and why and not make a guess about who we think it is and then find evidence to support that theory,” he said.

Starbuck is recently divorced. Her children are between the ages of 10 and 21.

According to court documents, Chanin and Clay Starbuck first divorced in 2000 and then remarried in 2006 in Valdez, Alaska, where Clay Starbuck worked in the oil fields. They moved to Deer Park in May 2008.

Clay Starbuck met with detectives for several hours Monday and “has been cooperative so far,” Barbieri said. He also brought his children to the police station “so we could talk with them and try to develop that timeline,” Barbieri said.

Documents included in the couple’s divorce file say Chanin Starbuck was studying to be a dental hygienist after years as a stay-at-home mom.