Police in Spokane, Washington, have arrested a man for allegedly killing his ex-wife when she came to town to pick up their children.
Mary Schaffer was in Spokane to pick up her two children from her ex-husband. She was shot in the head on August 8. A witness called 911 after finding her slumped over in the driver’s seat of her car, bleeding from the mouth. When officers arrived on the scene, they wrote that she had suffered “trauma to the left eye, consistent with a bullet entry into the head,” according to court documents obtained by KXLY-TV.
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The officer then noted that Schaffer’s purse was over her shoulder as if she was about to get out of the car. Police found a 9mm shell casing on the ground next to the vehicle.
According to the documents, the car was parked across the street from the home belonging to her ex-husband, Nathan Beale.
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According to the documents, which were also obtained by YakTriNews.com, a neighbor told police that they heard the gunshot around 12:30 pm. on Saturday. The witness reported seeing a man who matched Beale’s description allegedly fleeing the scene.
Police questioned Beale, 35, at his home. According to the documents, Beale alleged that there was no parenting plan in place for the two children, and he expected Schaffer to pick up the kids at noon. When she didn’t arrive, he said, he went to get coffee.
The documents allege that Beale “was evasive and did not provide a clear answer” when asked if he owned a firearm.
Officers later spoke to the children, who stated that they had been with their father for five weeks. One of the children reported finding a gun in one of Beale’s backpacks, but did not inform Beale about the discovery. Authorities later found a 9mm gun at Beale’s home. It allegedly matched the bullet casing found at the scene.
PEOPLE confirms that Beale has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder with domestic violence. He remains in jail on $1 million bond. He has pleaded not guilty. Court records do not reflect an attorney authorized to speak on his behalf.
The children are staying with relatives.