Pasco — A Pasco man is in jail on suspicion of first-degree murder after a female friend was found beaten, cut and stuffed in his closet.
Guadalupe Montejano, 48, appeared in Franklin County Superior Court on Monday for his first appearance in front of a judge. His bail was set at $500,000.
Police found the body of Tamie Alane Clark-Acevedo, 46, on Friday night in Montejano's apartment at the Vecinos Business Complex on Lewis Street, according to court documents.
She had suffered severe head trauma and a deep cut to her throat, documents said. The body was covered by a blue sleeping bag. It's not known how long she had been dead when police found her.
Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel ruled her death a homicide, but it will take six to eight weeks for reports to return on the cause of her death.
"We didn't see anything right now that said 'yes, this is definitely what caused her to die,' " Blasdel told the Herald. "So we want to look at the toxicology reports and get them back before we make any decisions."
Montejano has a criminal history that includes convictions for gun possession, drunken driving, possession of a controlled substance and fourth-degree assault, said Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant in court Monday.
Montejano told at least one person at the apartment complex that he killed Clark-Acevedo, documents said.
That person told police Montejano said, "Tammy (sic) is dead. I killed Tammy," documents said. The witness claims he called police moments later.
When officers arrived, Montejano and another man were in the apartment, documents said. The other man told police he didn't know Clark-Acevedo was dead.
It's "probable" that Clark-Acevedo was killed early Friday morning when neighbors reported hearing screams and items breaking inside Montejano's apartment, said police Capt. Jim Raymond.
"It could have happened anywhere from when neighbors heard noises and fighting to when we arrived," Raymond said.
Neighbors said they often heard yelling coming from the apartment and suspected he was using drugs. He reportedly had lived at the complex for about two months.
Clark-Acevedo's friends said she was staying at Montejano's apartment until she could afford to find a place of her own. The two were acquaintances.
Clark-Acevedo was sometimes involved in drugs and the street life, though she was an honest person who cared for her small dog, Teddy, like he was her own child, said her friends.
Police said Teddy was found at the scene and is safe with someone who knew Clark-Acevedo.
"She took better care of that dog than she did herself," said Cecil Weese, a patron at the Library Tavern in Pasco, where Clark-Acevedo was a regular. "She ran the streets, but she was a survivor. Nobody deserves that."
Patrons and employees at the tavern knew Clark-Acevedo and Montejano, they said. The mood around the bar has been somber since the news of the death.
"In this bar, everybody knows everybody," said Christy, a bartender who asked that her full name not be used. She routinely served Clark-Acevedo her favorite apple-flavored Shock Top beer.
"She was one of our family. She was a good person who had her problems. We all have problems. She didn't deserve this."
The owner of the tavern, Aaron Peters, said he has been friends with Clark-Acevedo for 20 years. He would help her when she was having trouble paying bills and make sure she had someone to talk to.
Clark-Acevedo liked to mingle with patrons, show off Teddy and try to be as independent as she could, Peters said. She was born in Royal City, and friends said she has a daughter in Moses Lake.
"We are all deeply saddened by what happened," Peters said. "She was friendly and helped people out to the best of her ability. This is just a real tragedy what happened."
-- Tyler Richardson: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter:@Ty_richardson