KHQ.COM - Spokane County prosecutors have formally charged 47-year-old Clay Duane Starbuck of Deer Park with aggravated first-degree murder and sexually violating human remains in the death of his ex-wife, 42-year-old Chanin Denice Starbuck.
According to the Spokesman Review court documents show that Chanin Starbuck's death certificate was hanging on the closet wall in Clay Starbuck's master bedroom.
The Starbucks divorced in July but were involved in legal battles over money and contempt of court claims when Chanin Starbuck's body was found Dec. 3 at her rental home at 509 N. Reiper St. in Deer Park.
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DEER PARK, WASH. --- Clay Starbuck, the man accused of killing his ex-wife, Chanin Starbuck, made his first court appearance on Tuesday. Bail was set at $1 million.
Meanwhile information obtained Tuesday gives more insight into the murder investigation of Starbuck. Relatives initially contacted authorities on December 2nd 2011 about a welfare check as they had not heard from her in "several days."
Two deputies first checked on her at six o clock December 2nd only to find the door locked with no sign of forced entry. The deputies touched base with Clay Starbuck that same night and he said he had not heard from Chanin since she texted him to pick up the kids from school on December 1st.
On December 3rd Clay requested they force entry into the home so he could get clothes for their children and that is when they found Chanin dead. It's now come out that there was also a call to 911 from Chanin's phone shortly after 9 a.m. two days before they found her. During the phone call there was a short "high pitch guttural sound of a female followed by rustling noise consistent with a struggle, and then the phone was disconnected."
Next to Chanin's body in the bedroom was her cell phone on the night stand. Soon after the deputies notified supervisors and the investigation began.
In the report it says the detectives believe "Clay Starbuck planned to kill Chanin Starbuck on 12/01/11, by acting as though his car broke down, requesting that Chanin, the decedent, take the kids to school." It went on to say that Clay Starbuck was then able to gain access into the residence and "secrete himself" until Chanin returned home and then committed the act shortly after nine a.m. on December 1st when the 911 call came in from Chanin's cell phone. At this point the investigators believe that Clay positioned Chanin in her bed in an attempt to lead the detectives down a different path.
Authorities obtained several items in their search of Clay Starbuck's home Monday night in Deer Park: a notebook, handwritten notes, lady's watch, I.D of Chanin Starbuck, 3 xboxs, Chanin's Computer hard drive, several thumb drives, and "documents and printed e mail", among other things.
In the last year alone there were four police reports filed by Chanin with Sheriff's office reporting malicious mischief and burglary. She believed Clay did all of this.
Clay Starbuck's first court appearance will be Tuesday at 1:30. Starbuck is charged with first degree murder and first degree burglary.