WARNING: This story contains graphic information
SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — A man and a woman have been arrested on suspicion of murder following the discovery of a 24-year0old woman's naked body near Northwood Middle School on Tuesday morning.
Major Crimes detectives are investigating the woman's death as a homicide, according to Spokane County Sheriff's Cpl. Mark Gregory.
An AMR Ambulance crew discovered the woman's body at about 3:40 a.m. on North Farwell Road east of Pittsburgh Street, Gregory said.
According to court documents, an AMR employee driving in the area saw what she thought was a person lying in the westbound lanes on Farwell Road. She then turned the ambulance around and stopped just a short distance away from the body.
The employee activated her dash camera as she exited the ambulance and then found what she believed to be a naked woman's body with a plastic bag over her head, court documents say. She called 911 to report the incident and later provided a statement to a deputy.
One deputy who responded to investigate said the victim appeared to have "obvious trauma to the upper body and head," according to court documents.
According to court documents, investigators said a length of white fishing line was found in the road near the victim's body.
During a search of the apartment, a deputy also found fishing line consistent with that found at the scene, court records say.
The Spokane County Medical Examiner identified the victim as 24-year-old Grace Wiggins. Her cause of death is listed as strangulation and the manner to homicide.
The medical examiner also collected numerous DNA samples during the victim's autopsy, court documents say.
Witnesses say they last saw victim at Franklin Park Shopping Center
A homeless resident of Spokane County told investigators that he knew the victim and last saw her alone in the Franklin Park Shopping Center parking lot on Monday morning, according to court documents. He gave her his phone number, which was then written on one of her hands.
Another homeless resident, who said he knew the victim for about three years and was engaged to her at one point, also saw her in the Franklin Park Shopping Center parking lot at about 9 a.m. on Monday. She told him she was going to a nearby Rite Aid to wait for a ride but she did not say who she waiting for, according to court documents.
Videos show victim in shopping center, suspects dumping body
According to court documents, a deputy with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office accessed surveillance footage from Northwood Middle School, which borders the road where the body was found.
The video showed a vehicle traveling westbound at about 3:05 a.m. before an object consistent with the victim's body is deposited onto the road, court documents say.
Investigators found the vehicle, a black 2008 Honda Ridgeline, and seized it for evidence, on Wednesday evening. They also contacted and detained two suspects, identified as 23-year-old Journey N. O’Donnal and 27-year-old Robert F. Mead.
Gregory said detectives later requested and executed a search warrant for an apartment located in the 200 block of E. Lincoln Road.
In surveillance video from businesses in the Franklin Park Shopping Center, a deputy saw the victim getting into a black Honda Ridgeline. It was later identified as belonging to O'Donnal, court records say.
According to court records, the vehicle was later found occupied by the suspects at a Walgreen's on North Division Street.
O'Donnal admits to disposing of victim's body with her boyfriend
O'Donnal told investigators that she met the victim outside of the shopping center on Monday morning with her boyfriend, identified as Mead, court records say. She said they offered the victim a ride to their apartment on Lincoln Road.
According to court records, Mead helped the victim load her belongings into the car and they went to the apartment, where the victim remained for the rest of the day.
O'Donnal then told investigators that she woke up some time between 11 p.m. and midnight to find Mead pacing in the living room, court records say. He then reportedly told O'Donnal that the victim had died of a heroin overdose in their shower.
According to court records, O'Donnal told investigators she found the victim wrapped in a bed sheet on the bed she shared with Mead. She added that she was afraid to report the victim's death to police because her landlord would discover Mead was living in the apartment without being on the lease, and he would be kicked out.
O'Donnal said in her statement that she agreed with Mead's plan to discard the victim's body away from the apartment, according to court records. She admitted that the two loaded the body into her car, which she drove, before dumping it in the road.
The two then returned to their apartment and went to sleep, court records say. O'Donnal said they disposed of the victim's belongings and cleaned the apartment when they woke up, and put the sheet used to wrap her body into multiple dumpsters.
O'Donnal said she and Mead also took multiple cellphones, one of which she believes belonged to the victim, to an automated kiosk inside of the Northtown Mall, court records say. She said the kiosk paid them for the sold cellphone.
O'Donnal also told investigators that she and Mead have previously invited strangers into their home to have sex with them, adding that Mead enjoys "bondage and light strangulation" during sex.
Mead denies strangling victim, says he 'may have put his hands around her neck'
In an interview with investigators, Mead said he and O'Donnal had contacted "some homeless chick" in the Franklin Shopping Center Parking Lot on Monday morning, court records say.
According to court records, Robert told them the victim overdosed on drugs while showering in his bathroom. After her reported overdose, he said he dragged her body into his bedroom, where he placed a plastic bag over her head and bound her wrists with fishing line.
He then told investigators that he wrapped the victim's body in a bed sheet before he and his girlfriend moved the victim into the vehicle, court records say.
He admitted to dumping the victim's body and destroying her belongings, according to court documents.
According to court records, Robert said he did not seek medical or law enforcement assistance after the victim had died because he thought he may be accused of being a drug dealer.
When confronted with the results of the victim's autopsy, Robert denied strangling the victim but did suggest he may have put his hands around her neck while moving the body, according to court documents.
Mead and O'Donnal were both booked into the Spokane County Jail for second-degree murder and first-degree robbery, Gregory said.