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

Medical examiner identifies man found dead in Spokane River, sheriff’s office continues to investigate

Shayne Lamonica's body was found June 19 in the Spokane River near Downriver Disc Golf Course. The Spokane County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death.   (Courtesy of Dana Lamonica)

The man found dead almost two weeks ago in the Spokane River has been identified, and authorities are looking into the possibility his death was a homicide.

Shayne Lamonica, 30, of Spokane, was discovered June 19 near Downriver Disc Golf Course, according to the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office. The cause and manner of death are pending.

A jogger found Lamonica, who was floating face down in the water with “no recognizable clothing attached” to him, according to search warrant documents filed Wednesday in Spokane County Superior Court.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office found a multicolored backpack wrapped around Lamonica’s foot, court documents said.

A doctor at the medical examiner’s office said in the court records she would list the cause of death as “drowning,” but that she would not rule on the manner until she was able to find out who Lamonica was and what medical history he had, court documents said. Lamonica had not been identified when the autopsy happened June 20.

The doctor told the sheriff’s office she did not find anything on Lamonica that would indicate foul play and estimated he had been in the water for one to two weeks.

Shayla Lamonica, Shayne Lamonica’s sister, reported her brother missing June 15, telling authorities he had not been seen since June 11 when a neighbor saw him leave his South Crestline Street apartment. The neighbor said in the documents Shayne Lamonica left on foot carrying a black backpack.

Shayla Lamonica said her brother had a history of mental health issues and talked about suicide. Still, Shayla Lamonica, her mother and a behavioral health professional told the sheriff’s office they did not believe Shayne Lamonica would commit suicide, documents said.

Dana Lamonica, Shayne Lamonica’s mother, told the sheriff’s office she was supposed to have lunch with her son June 11, but she never heard from him again, which was unusual.

She said in the documents she contacted Shayla Lamonica to go to Shayne Lamonica’s apartment, which her daughter found unlocked with his cat alone.

Dana Lamonica told The Spokesman-Review her son did not leave his cat alone longer than 12 hours. He always asked her or his sister to take care of the cat if he planned to be away from his apartment for that long.

“That cat was everything to him,” Dana Lamonica said.

A detective said he believes the release of Shayne Lamonica’s phone records will produce evidence related to homicide, according to documents.

Dana Lamonica said her family will offer a reward to anyone who finds and turns in her son’s identification, wallet, keys or backpack; anyone who saw him after June 9, which is when surveillance video captured him and his mother last heard from him; or anyone who has camera footage of him.

“We really want to find out what happened to him,” she said.