SEARCH FOR A KILLER: Emergency Alerts Sent About Sharlotte McGil - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

SEARCH FOR A KILLER: Emergency Alerts Sent About Sharlotte McGill Murder

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SPOKANE, Wash. - In the days after a man brutally stabbed 55-year-old Sharlotte McGill to death while she walked her dog along a Spokane trail, KHQ found Spokane County initiated it's 'Emergency Notification System' to warn neighbors in the area where the murder happened.
 
Alert Spokane is a system which issues warnings to cell phones, landlines, emails, and Voice-over Internet Protocols (VoIP) to people living near an emergency situation.
 
On May 3, 2012, Sharlotte McGill was walking on Tuffy's Trail near the Spokane River, in the 1800 block of East South Riverton, when police say she was randomly and suddenly stabbed in the arm, chest, and forehead by an unidentified man. McGill managed to climb to the nearest road where she was found bleeding by some passersby. McGilll's attacker ran off and police have yet to locate him.
 
Before losing consciousness, McGill described her attacker as a black man in his 30s with "a bad eye." Police don't have any further details about what a
bad eye" entails. McGill died on the way to the hospital.

According to a city spokesperson, the enhanced emergency notification system sent out two text messages to people who live in the general vicinity of the murder, near Mission and South Riverton. A text message and automated phone message went out Thursday, May 10th at 9 am and 7 pm, respectively.

The message reads: "Spokane Police are investigating a homicide that occurred at 1800 east South Riverton on 5-03-12 at 8 am. Victim describes the attacker as a black male, approximately 30 years of age with a bad eye. Detectives are attempting to contact every black male in his 30s with a bad eye that may live or frequent the area. If you know of anyone fitting this description, please contact Crime Check at 456-2233."

If the suspect isn't caught by this Saturday morning, a city spokesperson said another alert will go out this Saturday, May 12, at 8 a.m.

The Alert Spokane system launched in late 2010 and was first used when police said a man named Jan Demeerleer murdered his ex-wife and her son. At that time, about 100 homeowners in Spokane Valley awoke to a phone call warning them that a man was in their neighborhood and could be armed and dangerous. It was later determined that Demeerleer had killed himself.

Citizens can register for alerts any number of ways. In addition to a landline, people can sign up a cell phone, voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP), and email. They can also choose to receive both a phone call and a text message on a cell phone. Alert Spokane says standard text messaging rates apply.

If you want to receive any emergency messages, sign up here:  http://www.spokaneprepares.org/SpokaneENS.php

THE MURDER INVESTIGATION:
The weapon used to kill McGill has not yet been located. Spokane Major Craig Meidl said police won't release what type of specific weapon was used since the investigation is ongoing.
 
Police quickly announced they were making this case a top priority at the department. For several days, detectives have been compiling a list of people with violent criminal records who fit the killer's description. Meidl said the list has at least two dozen names so far. Police said they plan to contact those men to see if they have any information and hopefully narrow the list.
 
Since the stabbing, police have also received hundreds of tips from the community including "sightings" of men citizens believe match the murder suspect's description. Detectives are processing every tip.
 
"Every day we get closer if even only because we're ruling out people who weren't involved," Meidl said.
 
Detectives are working under one theory that the suspect might be a car prowler who sells or recycles batteries since they found a car battery at the crime scene that was "out of place." Police checked local recycling centers where car batteries are sold. In some cases, they are looking at surveillance video to see if they can find anyone who matches the murder suspect's description.

 
Meidl also said they have been working with the Washington State Patrol crime lab to quickly process DNA and other forensic evidence tied to the case. Managers at the crime lab have assured police that they will put McGill's at the top of the pack. Even so, it may take several weeks to process.
 
At this point, neither detectives or McGill's family have no idea why anyone would target the local mom and Costco employee. McGill lived in a nearby apartment with her 24-year-old daughter, Billie McKinney. 
 
 
FUNERAL SERVICE:
McGill's funeral service is set for May 19th. That's according to Billie McKinney's employer, the Spokane Club.
 
 
RESOURCES:
Police urged citizens to be extra vigilant about their surroundings.
 
If you know anything about the crime or see anyone who matches the suspect's description call Crime Check at 509-456-2233 or 800-222-TIPS.
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