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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Police investigate suspicious East Central death

Spokane police are investigating a suspicious death at this home at 1719 E. First Ave. in Spokane. (John Stucke / The Spokesman-Review)
Spokane police are investigating a suspicious death at this home at 1719 E. First Ave. in Spokane. (John Stucke / The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane police are investigating a suspicious death at a vacant home in the East Central neighborhood.

Police spokeswoman Officer Teresa Fuller said the Spokane Fire Department was called to a home at 1719 E. First Ave. just after 7 a.m. Wednesday. Firefighters found the body of a 20-year-old man in an upstairs bedroom and called police to investigate.

Major crimes detectives cordoned off the property. By late morning two county prosecutors, forensics investigators and more than a half dozen police were on scene to search for evidence and remove the body.

The home, a block away from East Sprague Avenue, has been vacant for several months.

“I think what we have here is a squatter situation,” said Sgt. Zac Storment, a homicide detective with the Spokane Police Department.

Fuller declined to say if there were obvious signs of trauma or foul play.

Neighbors say the home has been an obvious drug house since the owner evicted the renters several months ago with plans to raze the structure and build a small apartment complex.

One large window at the front of the house is boarded up. Piles of old carpet, tires, fencing, furniture and household items are stacked about the outside of the home. A tree out front has several bicycle tires hanging from branches and an adjacent vacant lot is littered with broken glass, empty beer cans and food wrappers.

People come and go from the house at all hours of the day and night, said several neighbors who did not want to have their names printed. One couple said they knew the struggles of homelessness and left people at the home alone.

The house was the scene of an alleged attempted murder on Dec. 28, 2014.

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