SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) _ A former sheriff’s deputy was found dead Wednesday a few days after he became the subject of a nationwide search for allegedly killing a police sergeant 14 years ago in a possible love triangle.
DNA tests unavailable at the time of the 1975 killing were performed on blood and hair evidence, implicating former sheriff’s deputy Ted Eugene Kirby in the death of Sgt. George Arthur.
Kirby, 54, disappeared June 30 after having provided saliva and other DNA samples to police. On Monday, police issued a warrant for his arrest.
A television reporter and photographer in Kirby’s neighborhood Wednesday found his decomposed body near his Spokane home.
The body ``appeared to have some sort of head trauma,″ possibly a gunshot wound, Spokane County sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Dave Reagan said. A handgun was found nearby.
Investigators say a DNA sample taken from Kirby matched blood collected from the crime scene in 1985. A love triangle may have been the motive, police sources told the Los Angeles Times.
Arthur, 37, was found dead in his van parked on a freeway ramp. He was shot after leaving work at the Men’s Central Jail, where Kirby also worked.
Detectives believe Kirby, who retired from the jail, hid inside Arthur’s van and shot him while he was driving, causing the vehicle to crash. Witnesses said they saw a man crawl from the wreckage and limp away.
A coroner’s autopsy showed Arthur had struggled with his attacker before he was shot. At the time, however, the technology did not exist to link the hair and blood samples found in the van to a suspect.
In April, investigators reopened the case and took DNA samples from several people, including Kirby. On July 7, they went to Kirby’s home in Spokane, Wash., but his wife said he left June 30 without explanation.