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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Man missing 7 weeks arrested in Sandpoint

From staff reports

Authorities in Bonner County, Idaho, on Sunday arrested a 35-year-old man who may have staged his disappearance in Okanogan County, Wash.

Tony W. Desautel, who had been the subject of a search last month after his horse was found in an area where Desautel sometimes rides, was picked up in Sandpoint and charged on an outstanding warrant, a Bonner County Sheriff’s official said.

Desautel is accused of imprisoning a woman at gunpoint at his Spokane County home on Aug. 9, 2004. Court documents allege that he tied her to a bed and attempted to rape her before driving to a wooded area on the Colville Indian Reservation near Grand Coulee Dam.

The court documents state Desautel released the woman, then shot himself in the chest with a .38-caliber pistol.

Desautel was scheduled to stand trial on kidnapping and attempted rape charges in Spokane County Superior Court on July 18. But on July 10, Okanogan County officials found Desautel’s horse, truck and trailer at a boat launch outside Elmer City. Desautel had been seen the previous day near the launch, an area where Desautel had apparently ridden for years.

The horse was still saddled and was wet, and authorities feared Desautel may have been hurt. But Okanogan County Sheriff Frank T. Rogers said at the time that Desautel’s disappearance could also have been staged.

After several days, authorities scaled back the search for Desautel, who has now been booked into the Bonner County Jail.

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