SPOKANE, Wash. – In a bizarre twist on reality, authorities in Spokane, Washington have closed the case on a 61-year old doctor found dismembered and burned in his backyard.

The medical examiner determined that the man had died accidentally when a combination of alcohol and prescription drugs caused a cardiac dysrhythmia (rapid heart rate) resulting in heart failure.

But police found the house trashed and the body charred and in pieces. So what actually happened?

It definitely leaves a multitude of questions that need answering.

Is this to say that the number of drugs ingested was accidental? Does it mean that he accidentally fell in the fire as a result of the heart failure he experienced? Furthermore, how does a human being become dismembered accidentally and leave no evidence behind? 

ferocious fire

Police say the man’s body was found burned and dismembered. (Pixabay)


In closing the case, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Cpl. Mark Gregory said,

“We found no evidence of any criminal acts leading up to his death.”  

While conducting a welfare check, the deceased was found in early April in his backyard firepit.  The story of Dr. Rex Porter was originally detailed in the Spokane, Washington newspaper, the Spokesman Review. They provided the details of the discovery and the launch of the investigation.

According to the local paper, the victim previously worked for Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. He was the caretaker of his son, Derek C. Porter, 29, who is autistic and nonverbal, according to court documents. They lived on an 11-acre property in the 2800 block of South Park Lane near the Iller Creek Conservation Area.


Neighbors called 911 to report that Porter’s car had been sitting in the driveway for two days with a door open. A garage door had also been left open.

Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies responded the next day for a welfare check, according to a search warrant filed in Spokane County Superior Court.

Deputies reported seeing the house in disarray as they looked through the windows, including broken glass on the floor. Attempts to call Rex Porter were unsuccessful, prompting deputies to enter the house. They smelled a strong odor they believed to be animal feces, according to court documents.

Deputies continued their search downstairs to the basement and found more glass, along with blood and damaged items. They opened a door and “suddenly an adult male was standing in front of them with only shorts and a T-shirt,” according to court documents.

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Deputies detained the individual, believing he was squatting in the house, according to court records.

In the bathroom, the toilet was full of human waste and the sink held what deputies thought was the remains of a dead animal, court records stated.

Deputies then determined the man they detained was Derek Porter, Rex Porter’s son who was living in the downstairs bedroom. Derek Porter was taken by medics to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, according to court documents.

Deputies reported locating a cut on the bottom of Derek Porter’s foot.


As deputies were leaving the house, a neighbor stopped them and said that if Derek Porter was home, Rex Porter was likely to be home too, according to court records.

Deputies walked the 11 acres of the property and found a fire pit with a human leg partially burned lying near it. When they looked inside the pit, they found a burned head with eyeglasses on it and a torso, according to court documents. The body parts were badly burned, according to court records.

After Derek Porter was checked into the hospital, doctors found what appeared to be blood on his shorts.

One family member said Derek “can be violent and has attacked Rex in the past,” court documents stated. The family member also said Derek’s mother had died years ago and Rex was taking care of him alone.

Detectives analyzed home-surveillance footage from cameras around the house. Authorities would not reveal what, if anything, they found on the surveillance video.


According to the medical examiner, Porter’s remains contained traces of alcohol, sertraline, trazadone and ziprasidone.

Sertraline, also known as Zoloft, treats depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and other mental issues. Trazadone is a drug that treats depression, and ziprasidone treats schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

There have been no statements issued pertaining to whether Porter suffered from depression, bi-polar disorder or schizophrenia.


From the original story, one could surmise that the deceased was burned when he fell in the firepit while suffering a heart attack. But what of the dismemberment? How exactly did a burned leg become detached and find its way across the yard?  Investigators have stated that they found no weapons or tools that could have been used in attacking or hacking up the victim.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office declined a request for further documentation, according to the paper.


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