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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Spokane

Suspect sought after body found in river

 (The Spokesman-Review)
Smiley-Lyle (The Spokesman-Review)

A 45-year-old Spokane man missing for more than a week was found dead in the Spokane River on Saturday afternoon, and police were searching the Northwest for one of two suspects in the possible killing.

Donald Lynn Smiley-Lyle, 17, is being sought on a warrant for first-degree murder in the case, said Cpl. Tom Lee of the Spokane Police Department. Another suspect, Robert Allen Entel Jr., 18, was arrested in Salem, after a day of feverish developments around the region.

The body of Bud Robert Johnson was found in the river near Boulder Beach, about a mile west of the intersection of Upriver Drive and Argonne, around 4 p.m., Lee said. Investigators believe he was killed over a property dispute, but they would not be more specific about the nature of the killing or the details surrounding it late Saturday. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

Johnson, who apparently lived alone but had relatives in the Spokane area, was reported missing March 10. Investigators had begun to believe he was the victim of foul play, Lee said. By Friday night, Smiley-Lyle and Entel were suspects in the case and were being sought for questioning, but officials still didn’t have enough evidence to arrest them, Lee said.

Witnesses apparently spotted the men at a hotel in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, where they were seen leaving in military-type fatigues and carrying rifles.

A nationwide alert went out, and when an Oregon State Police officer found the two men early Saturday in a car at a rest stop near Albany, Ore., he checked the plates and found Spokane police were interested in the men.

The men voluntarily agreed to be questioned, but Smiley-Lyle later refused to cooperate after arriving at the OSP office in Salem, and left on foot about 5:30 a.m., OSP said in a news release.

Entel agreed to be questioned further, though, and he was still at the station when officers in Spokane obtained arrest warrants for both men, on charges of first-degree murder. Entel was arrested and interviewed, and officers found Johnson’s body about three hours later submerged in the river, where it had been thrown off a small cliff, Lee said.Smiley-Lyle is described as white, 5 feet 10 inches, 165 pounds, with short, clean-cut-looking blond hair and three horizontal scars on his right forearm. He was last seen wearing green, military-style cargo pants, a black T-shirt and brown boots. Investigators consider him dangerous.

Officers received a tip that he was heading back to Spokane by bus, but he remained at large early Saturday evening. Anyone with information on his whereabouts can call (509) 242-TIPS.

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