10/24/2014

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Woman shot to death at home was middle school art teacher

Woman shot to death at home was middle school art teacher
YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash.-- The timeline may be key to solving the murder of a local art teacher. Deputies found Desiree Sunford shot to death in her home last night. Desiree's husband was concerned he couldn't get a hold of her and asked deputies to check on his 30-year old wife. The couple's home was recently the target of another crime.

The 30-year-old was in her second year as an art teacher at Wapato Middle School.

"It's like being a family and losing a family member when you have someone pass on, especially in a tragic situation." Superintendent Becky Imler said.

They found her shot to death in her home on North Saint Hilaire Road Sunday night. Deputies only went there after getting a call from her husband. He told them he was out of town and was worried after not hearing anything from her in more than a day.

"He had been trying to contact her and didn't have any success and that was unusual," said YCSO Spokesperson Stewart Graham.

Family friends told me he was away because of another death in his family. Desiree's mom was the last one to speak with her on Saturday. Investigators can't say if there was any sign of forced entry. There is lingering damage from a burglary at the Sunfords' home a week ago.

"I don't know how to differentiate that from what may or may not have been there than yesterday," Graham said.

Yakima County Coroner Jack Hawkins says Desiree was dead less than two days when she was found, but won't say exactly when the murder took place. A crime her colleagues at school can't understand.

"These are my people and these are my staff members and I love them dearly," Imler said. "And, to lose one of them is very hard."

As with all homicides, questioning will start first with people who knew Desiree. But because of the burglary strangers are not being ruled out just yet.
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