Phoenix woman found dead; son arrested in Calif. is person of interest

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- A Valley woman was found dead in her apartment and police say her son is a person of interest in the case.

Phoenix police found the body of Danette Baxter, 46, inside her apartment near 53rd and Taylor streets early Monday morning.

The discovery was made only after her son, Zachary Baxter, 20, was arrested in Long Beach, Calif.,  Sunday night for DUI -- possibly drug related.

At the time of the arrest, police say Baxter made strange comments about the registered owner of the car -- his mom. That's when California authorities called Phoenix police to do what they call a welfare check. Officers found Danette's body around 4 a.m.

"There was a fluid or liquid near or around the front door that they believe was blood, quot; said Phoenix police Sgt. Trent Crump. "That is what prompted them to force entry into the apartment."

The victim hadn't been seen or heard from since Friday night or Saturday morning.

Neighbors said Zachary Baxter, who had been living in Florida, moved in with his mom, a massage therapist, a few months ago, but the two were not getting along. Those neighbors said they heard the pair arguing on several occasions.

"In hindsight and afterthought, people are saying, 'I think I heard something, I heard this and I may have heard that and I may have heard some thumping, I may have heard some yelling,' but I am unaware of any calls for service for the police department out there," Crump said.

Baxter is being held in a Long Beach jail for the DUI charge. A judge set his bond at $5,000.