During the winter and spring of 1990, three Spokane area women were found dead, their bodies dumped along the Spokane River. The murders were similar enough that police considered them the result of one person and believed them to be the work of a serial killer. But as quickly as the murders began, the killings seemed to end.
Detectives suspected the Spokane River Killer was either dead, incarcerated or had moved out of the area. Six years later, the bodies of murdered women once again began turning up all around the Spokane area.
In 1999, Robert Lee Yates was arrested and police hoped they had finally found their killer. In 2000, he plead guilty to killing 11 women from the Spokane area between 1996 and 1998. During the investigation however, Yates was ruled out as a suspect in the 1990 slayings. DNA recovered from underneath the fingernails of the third victim was eventually identified as being from a man. But no match could be found. Their man was still on the loose.
In 2009, DNA from a federal inmate was matched to the DNA recovered from underneath the fingernails of the third victim. The inmates fingerprint was also matched to a print recovered from a bottle of vaginal lubricant found in a dumpster along with the second victim’s discarded belongings. Police finally believed they had their man. But did they? The DNA match belonged to a female inmate.
©2017 Jon Keehner (P)2017 Jon Keehner