Authorities are trying to find out how a middle-aged man died and how his partly decomposed body ended up in the woods near Bayview.
A man gathering firewood stumbled upon the body last weekend. It was discovered south of Sandpoint, on the border of Bonner and Kootenai counties.
Police believe they know the man’s identity, based on a automobile club membership card he had in his pocket. The man’s identity was not released, however, because authorities are trying to notify relatives.
The death is being treated as a homicide until an autopsy can confirm how the man died, said Bonner County Det. John Valdez.
“There were no obvious signs on his body of how he died,” Valdez said, saying he saw no gunshot or stab wounds.
“We are investigating it as a homicide simply because that is the way we go about it.” He did not rule out the possibility the man may have committed suicide.
The body was not buried or hidden, just lying out in the woods. The deceased was clothed in blue jeans and a white T-shirt. Valdez estimated the man could have been dead for nearly a month before being found in the remote area.
Detectives were questioning nearby residents Monday to see if anyone saw anything unusual in the woods or any strange cars, thinking the man’s body could have been dumped there.
An autopsy is expected to be complete today.
Initially, authorities were unclear if the wooded area where the body was found was in Kootenai County or Bonner County. An officer from Kootenai County used a global positioning device to verify the body was in Bonner County.
According to police reports, the man who came across the body while gathering firewood didn’t immediately go to police. Instead, the man told a friend a day or two later he had seen a body in the woods. The friend then reported the incident to the son of a Bonner County sheriff’s deputy.
Authorities were led to the body late Saturday afternoon, but waited until Sunday to remove it so they could also search for evidence.