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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Investigation into Spokane Valley deaths points to murder-suicide

UPDATED: Fri., July 21, 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)

Spokane County sheriff’s investigators are operating under the theory that a Spokane Valley man shot his wife, two dogs and then turned the gun on himself. The bodies were located Tuesday inside a fire at 1913 N. Sipple Road.

Autopsies revealed that Joy Kihara, 67, and two family dogs were shot to death. Their bodies were discovered Tuesday morning after firefighters responded to the blaze at about 1:40 a.m.

The results of the autopsy on 70-year-old Bobby Kihara also showed that he died from a gunshot to the head. But the medical examiner listed the manner of death as still under investigation.

Capt. John Nowels said the Sheriff’s Office is not seeking an outstanding suspect and that all indications are that Bobby Kihara shot Joy and the two Labradors before turning the gun on himself.

“We have a theory of what occurred and we have no reason the public needs to be alarmed,” Nowels said. “But we hate to say something is 100 percent until the lab results come in.”

Investigators are also not sure whether they have heard from all the potential witnesses in the case.

The working theory “is subject to change if evidence waiting to be analyzed gives us a different conclusion or testimony indicates something different,” he said.

Part of the investigation is to check the forensics of the firearms to make sure they match up to rule out a scenario where the Kiharas were killed by someone else in a situation that was made to look like a murder-suicide, he said.

“That stuff takes time,” he said of the laboratory results.

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