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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Detectives work to identify body

Detectives are still waiting for dental records in order to identify a badly decomposed body found in the Pend Oreille River near Sandpoint Saturday.

An autopsy in Spokane Monday showed no signs of trauma to the body, which was found by a duck hunter near a mill site in Dover, just downstream from Sandpoint, Lt. John Valdez of the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

Detective Steve Feldhausen of the Sandpoint Police Department said investigators were seeking dental records of Dan Clune, a man who disappeared near the river almost two months ago.

Speculation abounds in Sandpoint that the body is that of Clune, a 29-year-old software programmer who vanished in the early morning hours of Nov. 6 after a night out with friends at the Long Bridge Grill in Sagle. The bar is at the south end of the mile-long bridge separating Sagle and Sandpoint. Two shoes of a type worn by Clune washed ashore in the weeks after his disappearance.

But Valdez said Monday and again Tuesday there is at least one other possibility police can’t rule out.

A fisherman on the river found clothing apparently belonging to a Hispanic man “about the same time Clune went missing,” Valdez said. “There was a coat, some money, an INS identity card, which we found out is a phony.”

Valdez said investigators can’t rule out the owner of the clothing, possibly a migrant worker, drowned.

In an e-mail from New York, Kristen Clune, Dan Clune’s sister, said the family is preparing to hear bad news.

“If it is Danny, our hearts will be forever broken,” Kristen Clune wrote. “He was a wonderful son and brother and not a day will go by without us thinking of him. He has touched lives all over the world, and I am sure their hearts are breaking as well.”

Dan Clune had only recently moved from the New York City/New Jersey area to Sandpoint. After his disappearance, family and friends made the transcontinental trek to help in the search. They have papered North Idaho with fliers describing Dan Clune and started a reward fund, which has grown to $10,000.

Feldhausen praised family members for their assistance.

The family has recently aired appeals to help find Dan Clune on Fox News programs and Court TV as well as Internet sites, and they have contacted psychics who have told the family that Dan Clune is alive.

Kristen Clune also wrote: “We would like to thank Det. Steven Feldhausen for his help in this trying time. (He) has been unceasing in his pursuit of an answer to Danny’s disappearance. He has treated the family with respect and compassion and for that we will be forever grateful.”