Many questions are surrounding the recent discovery of a potentially human skull near a Spokane golf course, but one stands out in particular: Could this skull be belong to any of the missing persons that seemingly vanished from Spokane County?
The National Missing and Unidentified Person’s System (NAMUS) reports 895 Washington cases in their database. Their records indicate 37 of those cases are from Spokane and Spokane County.
All but one of those files represents individuals that have been gone 90 days or longer. Local detectives say the vast majority of cases they deal with resolve themselves within hours or even just a few days.
Every case we are featuring for our special investigation “Vanished” has been active for more than 90 days. The one exception is a man named Bret Snow. Court documents indicate detectives are treating the investigation into him as a homicide.
SCSO Mayor Crimes Detectives say Snow was last seen in the Spokane Valley around December 3, 2015. Records indicate he had plans to meet up with a friend, but was a no show. Detectives have filed search warrant paperwork for his phone records.
“I have some suspicions in what I think, but at this point, I feel he is no longer with us,” said Snow’s sister.
Just prior to Snow vanishing, a 35-year-old Spokane mother also disappeared without a trace. Deanne Hastings had just started beauty school in downtown Spokane in early November of 2015. Her car was found in a downtown Spokane location with her cell phone and other personal items left inside.
Randy Riley has been arrested for using Deanne’s credit cards. Riley told KHQ in a jailhouse interview that he hung out with Deanne around the time she was reported missing. He claims she was too drunk, so he left her on the side of the road in the Peaceful Valley region. He told KHQ, 24 hours after leaving her, he returned to the area and found her abandoned wallet. He freely admits using her cards at various Spokane stores. He was arrested for identity theft and stolen property possession, but is adamant he had nothing to do with her disappearance.
The case has left Deanne’s loved ones heartbroken.
“The last thing I heard come out of her mouth was I love you,” said Deanne’s finance Mike Tibbets. “It's more like a nightmare type thing. Almost like it's not real.”
Loved ones have organized a search party for Deanne on Saturday. It begins at 10:00 AM at 4325 S. Cheney in Spokane. Participants will comb through the area to South Inland Empire Way. This is near where Riley reported last seeing Deanne. Details can be found on the “Missing Deanne Hastings” Facebook page.
The family of another missing Spokane woman also uses Facebook to help generate clues and even interest in their case. Heather Higgins has been missing more than five years now. Heather’s mother Jackie Forney said her then 39-year-old daughter was seen leaving her South Spokane apartment with an acquaintance to run errands. According to Jackie, this acquaintance reportedly said he dropped her back off at home, but she hasn’t heard from her daughter since. She left her beloved cats and personal belongings behind. No one was seen Heather since September 20, 2010.
“It’s been the worst hell,” said Forney. “I don’t even know how to explain it.”
Angel Wilson seemingly vanished as well. She was just 17-years-old when her father Oliver Rice last saw her. Angel’s family admits she bounced in and out of trouble growing up. She had recently gotten married. No one has reporting seeing her since August of 2007.
“I miss her like crazy,” said Rice. “I hate it, but there's nothing I can do about it until they show me a body.
Gregory Kachur was 49-years old when he went missing from the Spokane Valley in May of 2012. Reports show he ate dinner with some friends from church, following a funeral. Witnesses reportedly told police they saw him leave the restaurant. His home was about a block away. He has not been heard from since.
Kathryn Gregory was 24-years-old when she vanished in November of 1981. She was a nurse at a local hospital. She didn’t show up for her shift, but wasn't reported missing until the next morning. Records indicate Spokane Police recovered her car about two blocks from the Spokane home she shared with her husband.
Julie Weflen was 28-years-old when she vanished in September of 1987. Records show she was working as an operator for a Spokane power company. Reports indicate Julie left the office to check on one of the transformers at the substation. She disappeared in Northwest Spokane. Detectives found evidence of a possible struggle.
John Akkerman vanished in 1987 when he was 27-years-old. Records say he was a married man, working as a cab driver. His cab was reportedly found abandoned at the intersection of 5th & Madison, midway through his shift.
Laurie Partridge was 17-years-old when she vanished in South Spokane. She was last seen on her way home from school near the intersection of 37th and Havana Street. No one has reported having contact with Laurie since December of 1974.
Alvin Matlock was 20-years-old when he vanished in 1951. He would be 86-years-old today. Officials said Alvin was living on Brown's Mountain in Spokane County when he disappeared.