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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Woman found dead in Spokane Valley house fire was shot in the head, medical examiner says

UPDATED: Wed., July 19, 2017

Spokane Valley firefighters open the roof and pour water into the attic at the scene where two people were found dead early Tuesday morning, July 18, 2017, on the 1900 block of North Sipple Road, in Spokane Valley, Wash. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Spokane Valley firefighters open the roof and pour water into the attic at the scene where two people were found dead early Tuesday morning, July 18, 2017, on the 1900 block of North Sipple Road, in Spokane Valley, Wash. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Joy Kihara, a 67-year-old woman whose body was found early Tuesday morning in a house fire at a Spokane Valley home, died from a gunshot wound to the head, the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office announced Wednesday.

The cause of death is listed as a “perforating, intermediate gunshot wound to the head.” The manner of death is listed as a homicide.

The identity of a second person who was also found dead in the burning house has not been released.

Both bodies were located by firefighters while battling a house fire at 1913 N. Sipple Road. in Spokane Valley, according to a news release sent out by the Spokane Valley Police Department and Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. Most of the residence was in flames by the time firefighters arrived at around 1:40 a.m, according to the release.

Two dogs were also found inside the building, according to the release. Police believe the dogs, who neighbors said were a pair of Labradors named AC and DC, were shot as well.

Jessica Hall, who lives across the street from the home, said she woke suddenly to the sound of her dog barking. Several minutes later, she heard what she described as small explosions.

“We just heard explosions and called 911,” she said.

Deputy Mark Gregory, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said that “with information investigators have, there is no known threat or danger to the community.”

Spokane Valley Major Crimes detectives are working with Spokane Valley Fire investigators to determine the cause and origin of the fire.

Police have asked that people avoid Sipple between East Nora and East Knox avenues, as it will be closed during the investigation. Detectives and Spokane County Forensic Unit personnel planned to be in the area for a majority of Wednesday.

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