Some of the unsolved homicides in Bonner County include:
Paul Gruber: (February 1994)
The wealthy 53-year-old mysteriously disappeared from his home. His family and authorities believe he was murdered. Gruber’s truck, a safe from his home and a cellular phone were found abandoned on a Kootenai County road. A suspect in the case was allegedly picking up Gruber’s mail and withdrawing cash from his bank account.
Michael Haire: (June 1993)
The 50-year-old had a fight with his wife, stormed out and never came back. An informant led authorities to believe Haire was shot and his body baked to ashes in a kiln because he was privy to a drug operation. The prime suspect in the case was arrested in September 1994 for growing marijuana in an underground bunker. A large kiln was also found on the property.
Tammy Bristow: (Jan. 8, 1987)
Bristow, 18, was strangled in her apartment. Police arrested transient Fred Gauerke for the murder and held him in jail for 11 months. Gauerke, who had been in and out of mental hospitals, was released due to a lack of evidence. He is still the prime suspect.
Ampwan Tui Williams: (Aug. 20, 1993)
Williams, who authorities described as a street person, was found beaten to death near some downtown railroad tracks. Police have no firm suspects and little evidence. The woman was last seen with some non-local “biker types.”
In Boundary County:
David and Helen Ashley: (Dec. 9, 1988)
The Ashleys’ rural home burned to the ground. The couple’s bodies were found inside. It was later discovered David Ashley was shot several times and did not die in the fire. In a nearby barn, authorities found 2,000 marijuana plants and a cache of guns. David Ashley was later identified as Donald Robert Whaskey. He was wanted in New Mexico for the murder of two men.
In Coeur d’Alene:
Debra Prety: (Oct. 27, 1973)
The 15-year-old girl was found strangled in a resident’s back yard. The suspect in the case is now in the Montana State Penitentiary facing a death sentence for another murder.
Herman Waldo: (Aug. 30, 1982)
The 90-some-year-old man was beaten to death in his trailer home, an apparent robbery victim. There were few leads in the case and no arrests were ever made.
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