Elk Homicide Suspect Arrested - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Homicide Suspect Arrested In Montana, After Deputies Say He Killed His Mother In Washington

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ELK, Wash – It was a search that lasted nearly 24 hours, and now, it's over.

The Pend Orielle County Sheriff's Department says just before 9 p.m. Sunday, Matthew Swancara, 24, stabbed his own mother to death.  He took off in his father's 2001 Suzuki, and deputies believed he might have left the state.

Turns out, they were right.

Monday afternoon, Swancara was picked up by police in Kalispell, Montana – more than 200 miles away.

"The initial 911 call was from Mrs. Swancara, and she stated in that call that her son was trying to kill her," said Sgt. Questin Youk told KHQ.

Sgt. Youk said the father and husband was home in the basement when it all happened, and heard commotion, so he came upstairs.

"He saw the son assaulting the mother," Sgt. Youk explained, adding that he tried to intervene, but it was too late.  "He was able to get the son outside, and he went back inside to be with his wife."

She died of her injuries inside the home.  Now, the small community of Elk is grappling with 56-year-old Sally Swancara's shocking death.

She'd been a bus driver for First Student Transportation, the company that contracts with the Riverside School District, since 2008.

"She was a wonderful woman, and will definitely be missed," said transportation manager Kim Foster.

"Nobody can laugh like Sally, her laugh made you laugh," added Leann Bawden, a fellow driver.

They say she loved the outdoors, including snowmobiling and horseback riding.

"She loved life," fellow driver Jami Gifford said.

School counselors have come in to help them, as well as notify the parents and students she saw every day along her route.

But, they say she was quiet about her personal life. 

However, the Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Department told KHQ the Swancara family home was no stranger to them.

"We've responded to several calls here in the past, just family issues that have occurred," Sgt. Youk said, adding that a number of them were domestic violence calls involving the suspect, Matthew Swancara, dating back to when he was a juvenile.

It will take a few days for Swancara to be extradited back to Washington for prosecution.

"We'll investigate it to the best of our ability, and hopefully justice will be served," Sgt. Youk said.

Previous Coverage:


Homicide Suspect, Matthew J. Swancara, age 24 of Elk, Washington has been captured.  Swancara was wanted in connection with the February 10, 2013 stabbing death of his mother, Sally Swancara, age 56, also of Elk. 

Swancara was arrested by Kalispell Police in Montana this afternoon, without incident.

Previous Coverage:

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE PEND OREILLE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: The Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office is investigating a homicide that occurred at a home on Juanita Lane in Elk, Washington.

On February 10, 2013 at approximately 8:41 p.m., deputies were called to the scene of a domestic violence assault and upon their arrival discovered the victim, Sally Swancara, 56, deceased from apparent stab wounds. The suspect, Matthew John Swancara, 24, who is the victim's son, fled the scene prior to law enforcement's arrival.

Matthew Swancara is described as a white male, approximately 5'10" tall, 130 lbs, with Blonde hair, and Green eyes. Swancara is believed to have left the scene driving a black 2001 Suzuki Esteem Station Wagon, Washington License Plate # ACB6116.

The investigation is ongoing at this time.

If anyone has information on Matthew Swancara's whereabouts, please call the Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office at 1-800-669-3407.