Medical examiner identifies body found near school

Dan Pelle photo

An investigator from Spokane County medical examiner’s office views the body of a man found near the corner of Eddy Avenue and Weipert Drive on Tuesday. A Spokesman-Review carrier found the body near Evergreen Elementary School around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.

February 20, 2013

A man whose body was found Tuesday morning north of Spokane may have been killed by a car.

Evergreen Elementary School went into a modified lockdown as law enforcement investigated the scene at West Eddy Avenue and North Weipert Drive, Spokane County sheriff’s Lt. Steve Barbieri said.

The medical examiner identified the victim as Michael Edwin Dressel, 48. The cause of death was still under investigation.

A Spokesman-Review carrier found the body around 5:30 a.m. Dressel had blood on his body, but there was no sign of how he died, Barbieri said.

“At this time, it appears the victim may have been struck by a vehicle,” Deputy Mark Gregory said in a news release Tuesday afternoon. “From canvassing the area, detectives learned the man appeared to be intoxicated and walking around in the area before he died.”

School was still open Tuesday.

“This has nothing to do with the school. We’re just using the parking lot as our command,” Barbieri said. “There is no threat to the school.”

Despite that, school officials decided to go into a modified lockdown, meaning children were not allowed to go outside.

Principal Jon Iverson said school started as usual at 9:15 a.m. and the Mead School District provided three additional buses for students who usually walk.

“That’s just an extra precaution,” Iverson said, adding that a note went out to parents at 7:30 a.m. telling them what was going on.

Shannon Schulte dropped off her fifth-grade daughter and said she didn’t know exactly what was going on but had heard a body had been found. She said she was initially nervous about her child being at school but felt comfortable when she saw the police presence.

“Obviously they have it well covered,” she said.

The Mead School District superintendent and sheriff’s deputies were welcoming students as they arrived.

West Price Avenue was initially closed to traffic but reopened around 11:30 a.m.

The carrier who found the body, a woman who wished not to be identified, said through her daughter, who translates for her, that she initially thought the body might be some kind of decoration that blew away from a yard.

That had happened before, her daughter said, around Halloween.

When she saw the body, the carrier turned to her husband, who was driving a vehicle while she walked the route, and asked him to check it out. They realized it was real and called 911 from a cellphone, their daughter said.

Barbieri said the light morning snow Tuesday complicated the investigation, although the first officers on scene did their best to preserve evidence.

“Any evidence that was on the ground before the snow fell can be diluted or washed away,” he said.

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