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Authorities locate body in north Spokane County

UPDATED: Wed., March 27, 2013, 2:27 p.m.

The scene of a body search being conducted by the Spokane and Whitman county sheriff's offices. (Jonathan Brunt/The Spokesman-Review)

Investigators digging in the woods of north Spokane County have found a body, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Craig Chamberlin said.

Though the body has not been positively identified, authorities have been searching for a missing teenager last seen at a home in the farming town of Malden.

Three adults have been arrested in connection with the suspected homicide of 17-year-old Donavin Stapert and conspiring to cover-up the crime. The case is being prosecuted in Whitman County where authorities say the teen died. He was living with his father in Malden.

Investigators believe the three provided Stapert with methamphetamine.

On Tuesday Whitman County Sheriff Brett Myers said many details of the investigation are sensitive, and he declined to provide information on the possible whereabouts of Stapert’s body.

Chastity Dawn Barkhuff, 38, of Malden, and James L. Ramson, 30, of Spokane, were arrested Saturday and booked into the Whitman County Jail. Bail was set for each at $250,000. Barkhuff faces charges of controlled substance homicide, providing methamphetamine to a minor and unlawful disposal of a body. Ramson faces charges of unlawful disposal of a body, rendering criminal assistance and possession of meth.

Bobby Bilderback, 44, of Malden, was jailed in Missoula on Monday on charges of deliberate homicide, distributing a dangerous drug to a minor and possession, according to jail records.

Myers said investigators believe that Stapert died at a home in Malden where Barkhuff and Bilderback resided.

Stapert’s mom, Crystal Rothbarth, said Stapert grew up mostly in Spokane and attended several schools, including Glover Middle School and Audubon and Lidgerwood elementaries.

He and his father moved to Malden late last year.