Death Investigation Guidelines Criteria for Reportable Deaths After a death is reported to the Medical Examiner's Office, the Medical Examiner will determine whether the office will or will not assume jurisdiction and responsibility for signing the death certificate. In order to make this decision, an investigation is performed. Investigation may include review of Medical records (the office can review records, by law, without family permission), interviews, an investigation at the place of death, clarification of prescriptions, etc. If jurisdiction is assumed, a forensic pathologist will determine if an autopsy will be performed. The law allows Medical Examiners to perform autopsies, without family permission or signature on a consent form. Autopsies are not performed in all cases. In certain deaths, the pathologist will sign a death certificate based on the decedent's medical records, without an autopsy. An example of this situation would be an elderly person who falls and sustains a hip fracture; the patient becomes hospitalized, a surgery is performed to repair the fracture, and postoperatively the patient develops pneumonia and dies. Because the chain of events that lead to death is well documented in the medical records, and no foul play is suspected, the Medical Examiner may sign the death certificate without performing an autopsy, even though the office assumed jurisdiction.
Deaths which may come under the jurisdiction of the Spokane County Medical Examiner are defined by state statute and include, but are not limited to the following criteria. Any such death should be reported to the Office of the Medical Examiner as soon as possible.
Dead Body Found Date Found: 6/20/1984 Estimated Age: 20-35 year Found on the south bank of the Spokane River, .08 mile west of the T.J. Meenach Bridge.Adult Caucasian female. The estimated height for this female had been 5 feet 3 inches to 5 feet 7 inches. The hair color was possibly blonde. This woman had been dismembered. The womans skull was later found on 4-19-1998 at a vacant lot located at 7th Avenue and Sherman Street in Spokane. Dental identification information was obtained at that time, no match found. A DNA profile was done, no known match. There is a possibility that this woman may have given birth to children. This woman had a 1 1/2 inch oval horizontal scar on her left knee cap, a faint 1/4 inch scar on her right knee cap, a scar of her left arm that measured 3 1/2 inches in length. There were 2 prominent moles noted on the front of her neck.
Offenders Sentenced to the Death Penalty 1. JONATHAN LEE GENTRY convicted June 26, 1991 of fatally bludgeoning Cassie Holden, 12, on June 13, 1988 in Kitsap County.
2. CLARK RICHARD ELMORE convicted on July 6, 1995 of one count of aggravated first degree murder and one count of rape in the second degree for the rape and murder of Christy Onstad, 14, the daughter of his live-in girlfriend on April 17, 1995 in Whatcom County.
3. DWAYNE A. WOODS convicted on June 20, 1997 of two counts of aggravated first degree murder for the murders of Telisha Shaver, 22, and Jade Moore, 18, on April 27, 1996 in Spokane County.
4. CECIL EMILE DAVIS convicted February 6, 1998 of one count of aggravated first degree murder for the suffocation/asphyxiation murder of Yoshiko Couch, 65, with a poisonous substance after burglarizing her home, robbing and then raping her January 25, 1997 in Pierce County.
5. DAYVA MICHAEL CROSS convicted June 22, 2001 for the stabbing deaths of his wife Anouchka Baldwin, 37, and stepdaughters Amanda Baldwin, 15, and Salome Holle, 18 in King County on March 6, 1999.
6. ROBERT LEE YATES JR. convicted September 19, 2002 of murdering Melinda Mercer, 24, in 1997 and Connie LaFontaine Ellis, 35, in 1998 in Pierce County.
7. CONNER MICHAEL SCHIERMAN convicted April 12, 2010 of four counts of aggravated first degree murder in the deaths of Olga Milkin, 28; her sons Justin, 5, and Andrew, 3; and her sister, Lyubov Botvina, 24, July 16, 2006 in King County.
8. ALLEN EUGENE GREGORY reconvicted May 15, 2012 of first-degree aggravated murder for the rape and murder of 43-year-old Geneine “Genie” Harshfield on July 26, 1996 in Pierce County. Originally convicted and sentenced to death on May 25, 2001, Gregory’s case was overturned by the Washington Supreme Court on November 30, 2006. The original charge was upheld in a retrial and the death sentence was reissued on June 13, 2012.
9. BYRON EUGENE SCHERF convicted May 9, 2013 of aggravated first-degree murder for the murder of Correctional Officer Jayme Biendl on Jan. 29, 2011 while she was on duty at the Washington State Reformatory Unit of the Monroe Correctional Complex in Snohomish County.
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