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Man, 25, slain in Sandpoint

Mon., Aug. 22, 2005, midnight

Sandpoint Police are investigating a homicide that occurred late Saturday or early Sunday near Great Northern Road, Sandpoint Police Chief Mark Lockwood said Sunday.

At 7:57 a.m. Sunday, a man reported finding a body behind the Evergreen Towing garage at 2208 Great Northern Road, Lockwood said. The man who found the body lives in a mobile home at the business on the northwest outskirts of the city.

The victim is a 25-year-old Sandpoint man who has family in the area. Lockwood was withholding the man’s name pending notification of relatives.

The police chief said the cause of death has not been determined. The man suffered extensive blunt-force trauma to the head, Lockwood said.

“It’s not conclusive at this time if this was done by an object or a firearm. It’s just not clear,” Lockwood said.

The victim knew the garage owner and got permission to work on his pickup truck in a garage on the grounds after 9 p.m. Saturday, Lockwood said.

His body was found near the truck, and other evidence indicates the victim was working on the vehicle, the police chief said.

The position of the man’s body and the absence of a weapon are clues that foul play was involved, Lockwood said. The garage owner is not a suspect, he said.

It’s the first homicide in at least five years in Sandpoint, Lockwood said. “It would have been fine with me if it had been another five years before we had a homicide here,” he said.

Police have interviewed neighbors, who reported hearing suspicious sounds, but Lockwood said it’s unclear whether those sounds were related to the death. For example, neighbors reported livestock acting up, but Lockwood said a pack of coyotes is known to prowl the area and could have upset the livestock.

One neighbor heard a gunshot, but that was after the body had been reported to police.

Police cordoned off the area with yellow tape Sunday morning and called in extra officers and an investigative team from the Idaho State Police. Police also took aerial photographs of the scene and searched along nearby railroad tracks.

At midafternoon Sunday, investigators still were gathering evidence.

“We’re being very methodical,” Lockwood said. “We’re running some leads down.”

There’s no apparent motive.

“There’s a lot of growth, a lot of people moving in,” Lockwood said. “Get this many people together – unfortunately, they don’t always see eye to eye and play well with each other.”


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