Dive Teams Search River For Evidence Twice After Assault
by Kelsey Watts, KHQ Local News Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
SPOKANE, Wash – Since
Thursdays assault, dive teams with the Spokane County Sheriff's Department have
searched the Spokane River twice looking for any evidence in the case – namely,
the mallet used in the attack, and any shoes or clothing the suspect may have
Avondre Graham, 17, is
in custody on assault and robbery charges, after police say he randomly attacked
a woman with a mallet and took her cell phone while the woman was walking along
Centennial Trail near Mission Park Thursday.
However, finding any
single piece of evidence in a flowing river is a lot like trying to find a
needle in a haystack - a haystack full of garbage.
"We've seen outboard
motors, anchors, bicycles, scooters, CD's, weapons, a ton of things in the
water," said Sgt. Jim Gladden.
The stretch of river
from the park south to the railroad bridge is a known homeless camp, and trash
along the banks – and in the water – is not unusual.
The good news is, the
water is lower and, in places, calmer than it was at the height of the season,
making the search a little easier for divers.
Dive teams made their
first go at it Friday, and then resumed the search Monday with a five-person
crew, including two divers. A tender on
the back of the boat has a line to the diver in the water, helping control where
that person searches.
"We use GPS, we use
the position of the tender and the length of the rope to try to recreate the
distances and the area that's searched," Sgt. Gladden told
Deciding how much of
the water to search, and how, depends largely on what crews are looking for and
witness statements of the crime involved.
And their work does
prove successful; earlier this month, crews found an AK-47 under the TJ Meenach
Bridge, believed to have been used in the December murder of Marcus Shur in
But even when dive
crews don't find that one key piece of evidence, that in itself can be
"Let's say we get
information that a weapon is in a certain area, and we've covered it to the
point that we think, ‘You know what?
This weapon isn't here.' That
information is also important to investigators because they may have gotten some
bad information, and they can go back and re-interview and try to see if they
need to do something else with the case," he added.
Dive crews will be
back on the lake as requested by Spokane Police, the lead agency on the assault
The suspect Avondre
Graham is due back in court next week.
Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:25 PM EDT2013-06-18 23:25:07 GMT
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