Douglas County Investigators: Woman died of strangulation while being sexually assaulted

The autopsy is back and it’s disturbing
New information Wednesday on what finally led investigators to make an arrest for an Omaha murder.
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 6:04 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - There’s new information on what finally led investigators to make an arrest for an Omaha murder.

The county attorney waited until the medical examiner had an exact cause of death.

A month ago, officers came to an apartment complex on Maplewood Boulevard for a death investigation. Detectives believe the woman who lived there died of suspicious circumstances and wanted to wait for the autopsy.

The autopsy is back and it’s disturbing.

Lorenzo Washington, 31, sits in the Douglas County Jail facing murder charges.

WOWT Omaha police arrest man for homicide
WOWT Omaha police arrest man for homicide

According to the autopsy, the victim Rita Hash, 58, died of strangulation. Investigators allege Washington strangled her to death with his hands as he sexually assaulted her.

The victim died on July 3.

When detectives wrote up a warrant for Washington’s arrest he was still in the victim’s apartment at Maplewood Boulevard and Maple Street. Investigators aren’t sure how the two knew each other.

It’s learned from court records that when Washington was arrested on misdemeanor theft and drug charges the day after the suspicious death, he listed a homeless shelter as his address.

In the past, the victim has also listed the Siena Francis House as a way to reach her.

The murder suspect is due in court Friday morning.

Lorenzo Washington had been scheduled to appear in court Thursday afternoon for the convenience store shoplifting charges but because he’s now facing murder, the state continued that case.

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