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Body found near climbing rocks off Upriver Drive

Spokane County Major Crimes detectives are investigating the discovery of a dead body near the climbing rocks off Upriver Drive.

On Wednesday afternoon, a group of hikers found the body of a man around 5 p.m. in a wooded area at John Shields Park.

Deputy Craig Chamberlin with the Sheriff's department said they are treating the death as a homicide, which is standard protocol, until the evidence proves otherwise.

Chamberlin said the heavily wooded area made it more challenging to collect evidence.

"Trying to document any possible crime scene like this in an extremely wooded area, you have to be very methodical and very careful to not disturb any evidence that might be there because you might not be able to see it," said Deputy Craig Chamberlin.

Chamberlin said the medical examiner will conduct an autopsy in the next couple days to determine a cause.

Border Patrol's Spokane sector helped find Amber Alert suspect

Border Patrol's Spokane sector helped find Amber Alert suspect

Border Patrol agents from Spokane played a critical role earlier this week in making sure Hannah Anderson, the subject of an Amber Alert that stretched from California to Washington, was reunited with her father.

Most of the time Customs and Border Protection agents are trying to keep people from illegally entering the United States. However when detectives in San Diego realized James DiMaggio, the man who abducted Hannah Anderson after reportedly killing her mother, brother and setting fire to his San Diego area home, may be trying to reach Canada, the Spokane sector stepped up patrols along the border.

There are still places you can walk and even swim into British Columbia and the Spokane sector patrols those areas from the air, on boats and even on horseback.

"The horses give us the ability to go through thick brush when normally an agent would have to walk," Calvin Davis with the US Border Patrol said.

Memorial for woman killed in crash draws hundreds

More than 500 people filled West Valley High School Monday night to remember 21-year-old Brittany Babinski.

Babinski died last week when a reckless driver hit her vehicle head-on.

"She was just outstanding, amazing.�I can't even say enough about her, every aspect about her, everyone loved her," mother Janelle Babinski said.

Babinski�worked with at-risk youth at the Northeast Youth Center. She loved to dance and compete and was�the best sister you could ask for.

"She's just giving, loving and amazing," Janelle said.

She might have only lived 21 years but during her short time on Earth, Babinski touched so many lives. At Monday night's memorial, there wasn't even enough space in the auditorium to house everyone. They had a special overflow room, which was also packed.

"She�was the most amazing leader and the most compassionate person and truly a remarkable person," Kate Green at the Northeast Youth Center said.

A memorial fund has been set up in Babinski's honor at Numerica and Banner Bank.

Man committed suicide during SWAT standoff

Man committed suicide during SWAT standoff

Detectives are investigating the death of a man who was the subject of a SWAT standoff at the Sunrise Village Apartments in Spokane Valley on Sunday night.

SWAT was called to the Spokane Valley apartments at 4th and Sullivan just after 5 p.m. Sunday. A woman who lives at the apartments told police she and her husband had been involved in a domestic dispute and she and her children had fled the apartment.

"Initial information that we had was that there were three children involved, the wife, and our suspect, who was reported to be armed with a weapon," Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Chamberlin said.

When officers arrived, they learned her husband had a rifle and had been making threats. Due to the large number of people living nearby, police called in the SWAT team while a negotiator tried to talk the man out of the apartment.

"Unsuccessfully, negotiators tried, so at that point it is basically a barricaded subject, so that is why SWAT was called. They are trained to deal with situations like this," Chamberlin said.

Local residents sound off on state's pot plan

Local residents sound off on state's pot plan

The initial high of a pot law may have worn off for some people, but for Spokane County, Thursday night was round two as people were able to voice their opinions of the Liquor Control Board's initial marijuana draft rules at the Spokane Convention Center.

While some people asked questions, some cities are trying to find answers.

"We're going to have to deal with this issue, I think, for the next couple years," Cheney Mayor Tom Trulove said.

Cities like Cheney have made a map using the parameters of Initiative 502 to find where these pot stores might go. They can't be within 1000 feet of schools, churches, or playgrounds. Using that formula, there is not one place zoned right now for a shop to go.

"Relieves a lot of citizens, a lot of residents who just don't want that next door," Trulove said.

Other cities are finding few locations that will work. Medical Lake has one potential site for a store. Liberty Lake has a few. Pullman could have several stores in the north and south ends of town. In Spokane, there are a number of places that would work, including areas on North Division and near Airway Heights.

Identity of Spokane Valley victim hit by passing car confirmed

Identity of Spokane Valley victim hit by passing car confirmed

The Spokane County Medical Examiner's Office has confirmed the identity of the individual who was killed by a passing car after being involved in a non-injury collision in the Spokane Valley

30-year-old Matthew Miller was driving a Toyota pickup near the Sprague on-ramp to I-90 when a small delivery truck made an illegal right turn on to 3rd Ave. and hit the pickup.

Both drivers pulled over to exchange information. As Miller was walking back to his car, he was distracted by his cell phone and was hit by another passing car.

Investigators say none of the drivers involved were impaired and speed was not a factor.

The coroner's office says Miller died of a blunt head injury.

Young woman killed in head-on collision in Spokane Valley

An erratic and possibly impaired driver is to blame for a fatal crash in Spokane Valley.

On Wednesday around 5:30 pm. Washington State Patrol said 43-year-old Brett Birge was behind the wheel of a black Volkswagen driving westbound on Trent when he crossed the center line and ran head on into another car.

WSP said the driver of the other car, 21-year-old Brittany Babinski, died a short time later at a local hospital.

"The suspect vehicle was reported as being erratic, passing on the right, lost control, went into oncoming lanes, struck victim vehicle and a third party was also struck," said Sgt. Lennie Walker with WSP.

Sgt. Lennie Walker said Birge was also involved in a hit and run in the Fred Meyer parking lot on Sullivan a few minutes before the fatal crash.

Birge was taken to the hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.

"He's under investigation for alcohol and or drugs at this point," said Sgt. Walker.

Birge has been charged with vehicular homicide.