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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Girl, 16, scalped in Idaho

Rebecca Boone Associated Press

BOISE – A 16-year-old Nampa girl was tied up and scalped by an older woman in an attack motivated by revenge, police said.

Authorities are searching for Marianne Dahle, 26, who was visiting Kirkham Hot Springs in central Idaho on Jan. 18 with the girl and a friend when Dahle allegedly tied the girl up and used a 4-inch knife to cut away the entire crown and back portion of her scalp.

A felony arrest warrant accuses Dahle of aggravated battery, though she has not been formally charged.

“When I say this gal was scalped, she was truly scalped,” said Boise County Chief Deputy Bill Braddock. “The top of her head, her hair, was completely cut off. The motive, as near as we’ve been told by witnesses, was retaliation for acting in a way that the adult perceived as being offensive to women as a gender.”

The girl is recovering at home. Police would not release many details – including the victim’s name – for fear it would harm the prosecution’s case. Braddock said he only agreed to discuss the incident because the public could help authorities find Dahle, who has been missing since the alleged assault.

Braddock said the victim, the suspect and the female teen witness were “long-term” acquaintances who were known as “punkers” and hung out in the same clique. No drugs or alcohol were involved in the attack, he said.

The victim wore a mohawk haircut, which may have played a role in the assault, Braddock said.

“In their punk group, wearing a mohawk is a sign of being a punker, and according to their creed if you disrespect women you are not allowed to wear a mohawk,” Braddock said.

The group is not a gang, Braddock said, though they had at least some established rules of behavior.

“It was an act of revenge. I view this as a case where an adult female is using predatory control – both psychological and sexual – toward juvenile victims. There are definitely sexual overtones to this crime,” Braddock said.

Police were alerted to the case after Dahle allegedly dropped the teen off at St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center in Boise, perhaps fearing the girl would die, Braddock said. Though authorities were able to recover the scalp, which had been left behind at the hot springs, doctors were not able to reattach it.

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