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St. Maries homicide victim ID’d as suspect’s uncle

Melisa Renee Bates, 26 (Benewah County Jail)
Melisa Renee Bates, 26 (Benewah County Jail)

A St. Maries man found dead at his home early Tuesday has been identified as Robert Dean Marek, 43.

Marek’s niece, Melisa Renee Bates, 26, is being held at the Benewah County Jail on a murder charge. She was arrested in Bayview Tuesday afternoon.

Bates told investigators she shot Marek, then burned his body in a fire pit to try to cover up the crime, said Benewah County Coroner Ronald Hodge.

The body was badly burned, and no cause of death has been determined, Hodge said. The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office is conducting the autopsy.

Hodge said a motive for the slaying is unclear. Benewah County sheriff’s deputies found Marek’s remains after he didn’t show up for work Tuesday.

Bates was arrested on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in September 2009 and pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace. She served a day in jail and completed a 60-hour life skills course.

A Kootenai County jury acquitted Bates of domestic battery in 2007 but convicted her of trespassing, and she completed a year of unsupervised probation and served four days in jail.

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