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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Spokane police investigating suspicious death of 62-year-old man in Sunset Hill area

UPDATED: Sun., Dec. 30, 2018

Boys ride their bicycles on the Fish Lake Trail bridge over Interstate 90 near the bottom of the Sunset Hill at the west end of Spokane. Police are investigating after a dead body was found in a home in the Sunset Hill area on Dec. 23. (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)
Boys ride their bicycles on the Fish Lake Trail bridge over Interstate 90 near the bottom of the Sunset Hill at the west end of Spokane. Police are investigating after a dead body was found in a home in the Sunset Hill area on Dec. 23. (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane police are investigating the suspicious death of a 62-year-old man in a home in the Sunset Hill area.

Richard White had lived with another man, 54-year-old James Fowler, at 3006 W. South Loop Ave. Both had been diagnosed with “advanced medical ailments” and were under the care of a social worker, according to a search warrant application filed last week in Spokane County Superior Court.

On the afternoon of Dec. 23, the social worker called 911 to report she had been unable to reach either of the men for several days, the warrant states. Packages were piling up in front of their house, she reported.

Spokane Fire Department personnel responded to check on the men, discovered White’s body and summoned police.

Officers found White face down on the kitchen floor with a pool of blood under his torso, the warrant states. The body was bloated and showing signs of decomposition, leading them to suspect he had been dead for at least several days.

In an adjacent bedroom, officers found blood stains on a mattress, partially covered by a sheet. “The overall appearance of the residence was cluttered,” the warrant states.

An officer questioned Fowler, who gave bewildering responses. First responders noted Fowler’s legs were covered in excrement.

“Fowler was not logical when he spoke,” the warrant states. “Fowler either truly believed, or acted like, he did not know that White was deceased.

“Fowler said White did not show up for Thanksgiving dinner and furthermore that he (Fowler) had not seen White since Thanksgiving,” the warrant states. “Fowler stated the two of them have been in a romantic dating relationship for 43 years. Fowler mumbled something about White having an affair.”

Fowler was taken to a hospital for evaluation and treatment. As of last week he had not been charged with a crime, though the warrant indicates White’s death was being treated as a homicide.

A Chevy van and a Hyundai sedan parked in front of the house were both registered to White and Fowler, according to the warrant.

Patrol officers kept the residence secure while a detective sought a judge’s permission to search the house, the two vehicles and a small shed in the backyard.

Investigators were looking for “any weapon, including a firearm and firearm accessories, impact weapons or edged weapons that could have caused any injury to Richard White,” the warrant states.

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