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Elk homicide suspect nabbed in Montana

UPDATED: Mon., Feb. 11, 2013, 4:43 p.m.

Bloody clothes helped law enforcement officers track down an Elk man in Montana Monday, a day after deputies found the man’s mother stabbed to death at the family home.

Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s officials had been searching for 24-year-old Matthew J. Swancara since they were called to a Juanita Lane home Sunday night on a report of a domestic violence situation.

When they arrived, they found 56-year-old Sally Swancara dead from apparent stab wounds, Sheriff Alan Botzheim said. Matthew Swancara had fled the scene.

“You just worry,” Botzheim said. “If you’ve committed a homicide, there is no telling what you may or may not do. But most of his anger was directed toward his mother.”

Investigators reported that Matthew Swancara was driving a black 2001 Suzuki Esteem Station Wagon.

But Swancara either ditched that car or it broke down and he began hitchhiking, Botzheim said.

Swancara was picked up by a driver who noticed the 24-year-old had blood on his clothes. The driver notified police when he dropped off Swancara in Kalispell, Botzheim said.

“We knew he had ties in Montana. We had been in contact with Montana authorities,” Botzheim said.

Matthew Swancara previously pleaded guilty in Spokane County Superior Court to second-degree burglary in June 2010, and third-degree driving with license suspended in Sept. 2009 and again in Dec. 2009.

Pend Oreille County investigators will travel to Kalispell today to question Swancara and efforts have begun to extradite him back to Washington, Botzheim said.

Botzheim confirmed that Swancara’s father was at the home, but he would not say what investigators believed happened prior to the stabbing. Investigators remained at the scene Monday gathering evidence, he said.

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