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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Bonners Ferry man facing murder charge after investigators say he shot driver of car he was passenger in

UPDATED: Thu., April 15, 2021

Victor Claus, 55, was booked into Kootenai County Jail on Thursday afternoon, on suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of Melyssa Schloe, 45.   (Kootenai County Sheriff's Office)
Victor Claus, 55, was booked into Kootenai County Jail on Thursday afternoon, on suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of Melyssa Schloe, 45.  (Kootenai County Sheriff's Office)

A 55-year-old Bonners Ferry man has been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder after investigators say they believe he shot and killed a woman driving the pickup truck in which he was riding.

Victor Claus is being held on a $1 million bond following a multi-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 95 in Athol on Tuesday. Investigators from the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office believe Claus was a passenger in a truck driven by Melyssa Schloe, 45, of Sandpoint, and that he shot her while the truck was headed north, according to a news release.

Schloe lost control of the truck and crossed the center line, striking a motorcyclist and another vehicle driven by Colleen Watkins, 64, of Hayden. The motorcyclist was uninjured, according to the news release. Watkins was taken to the hospital with injuries not thought to be life-threatening. Schloe was pronounced dead at the scene.

Claus was treated at the hospital and taken to Kootenai County Jail on Thursday, where he was booked just after 1 p.m. No court date has been scheduled. Lt. Ryan Higgins of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office said the investigation indicated the shooting was not accidental.

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