Bonner County sheriff’s investigators have reopened a landfill site that was closed and covered up last year to search for clues to a January 1994 murder.
After he was shot to death, Paul Gruber’s body was wrapped in a waterbed mattress and buried under 40 inches of dirt beneath his home. The body was discovered last summer, 18 months after the murder.
This week, detectives watched as workers from Waste Management Inc. reopened the Colburn landfill - which is about the size of a football field - and combed through the accumulated garbage.
Bonner County commissioners last Friday approved spending up to $50,000 to reopen the landfill, sift through trash and cover the dump back up to federal environmental standards.
“That will pay for about an acre and a half,” Sheriff Chip Roos said.
He said detectives were looking for an object about the size and shape of a standard briefcase that is believed to contain papers and other evidence from the Gruber home.
Investigators have a suspect in the case who was implicated in the alleged forging of Gruber’s checks and using his automatic teller machine card after Gruber was reported missing.
“The chances are good” that the object will be found, Roos said. “It’s the only viable step we have left.”
An informant came forward about a month ago and told detectives the object was placed in a black plastic garbage bag and thrown into the landfill a few weeks after Gruber’s disappearance, the sheriff said.
The informant also helped locate approximately where the bag was tossed.
Roos said officers would man the site around the clock until the object is found or the $50,000 limit is reached.