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Trio charged in Bonner County killing

Tue., Feb. 14, 2012, 8:27 a.m.

A Bonner County man on Monday was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of a 19-year-old man who was reported missing in September and recently found buried in a shallow grave, the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office reported.

Austin Blake Thrasher, 19, is accused of killing Michael Wyatt Smith, the sheriff’s office said. Thrasher’s wife, Jennifer Dunnagan Thrasher, 22, and Christopher Garlin, 19, each face a charge of accessory to murder.

Smith was last seen Sept. 13, the office reported. Detectives received a tip early last month that a 19-year-old was picked up near Hope “on the pretense of attending a party,” then shot twice and buried. Detectives found Smith’s body in a shallow grave on private property off of Wellington Road, north of Hope, the news release said.

The defendants already were in the Bonner County Jail on unrelated charges when they became suspects in Smith’s murder.

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