Washington man raped and killed elder sister, 61, after getting drunk and 'playing patty cake at full force'

Michael A. Battersby, 51, was arrested on June 9 and charged the next day with first-degree domestic violence murder and second-degree domestic violence rape


                            Washington man raped and killed elder sister, 61, after getting drunk and 'playing patty cake at full force'
(Getty Images)

KITSAP COUNTY, WASHINGTON: A man has been arrested for allegedly raping and killing his sister after they spent a day “playing patty cake at ‘full force.'"

Michael A. Battersby, 51, was arrested on June 9 and charged the next day with first-degree domestic violence murder and second-degree domestic violence rape. He is being held at the Kitsap County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail. When deputies from the sheriff's office were called at about 6:30 pm last Sunday, they found Battersby attempting CPR on the unresponsive woman, later identified by the Kitsap County Coroner's Office as his 61-yer-old sister, Diana Schuler. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Since the authorities had no reason to suspect that any foul play was involved in the death of the victim after they were told by the suspect that the woman died after an accident in the bathtub, they called the county coroner. But when they searched the woman's bedroom to look for her medications, they came across an instant message conversation on her computer screen, which suggested that she had been raped by her brother the previous night, which had left her with bruises all over her body. “Because of these messages detectives were requested to respond for additional assistance,” a Kitsap County sheriff's office detective wrote in court documents.

After examining the victim's body at the crime scene, the preliminary determination of the coroner was that the victim had died of a heart attack. However, a detailed report of the medical examiner later revealed the cause of death as strangulation with asphyxiation and drowning. The pathologist who conducted the autopsy found bruises around her neck and shoulders. On further examination, evidence of sexual assault was determined. The victim had blunt force injury on her head and injuries caused by forcible sex.

Battersby initially told authorities that he left the house at about 4:20 pm to run errands on Sunday when Schuler was in the bathtub. He returned at 6:30 pm to find Schuler submerged in the water, according to documents. The message in which the victim said that she was raped, was sent around 4 pm.

According to the document of probable cause reviewed by the Seattle Times, the suspect later told investigators that both of them had been drinking the previous night as they played patty cake. They often missed each other's hands and as a result, kept bruising each other. After his sister passed out, he dragged her to her room by her arms along the carpet, six inches as a time. The next day, Battersby said that his sister woke up and started yelling at him, saying that he had sexually assaulted her the night before. He added that he had apologized to her.

Toward the end of the interrogation, when the detectives informed the suspect that his sister's death had been ruled a homicide, he requested a lawyer and refused to answer any more questions at that time. The mugshot of the suspect has not been released. 

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