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News >  Crime/Public Safety

North Idaho man recovered from Lake Pend Oreille last month likely drowned, coroner says

July 20, 2022 Updated Wed., July 20, 2022 at 9:19 p.m.

The 40-year-old North Idaho man whose body was recovered last month from Lake Pend Oreille after a boy hooked the man’s clothing while fishing likely drowned, according to Bonner County Coroner Robert Beers.

Beers wrote in an email that Gary Bonser’s cause of death is “Probable Drowning.” The manner of death is undetermined and will probably remain as such.

A toxicology report detect neither alcohol nor controlled substances in Bonser’s system, Beers wrote.

Sandpoint police responded around 11:35 a.m. June 7 to the Statue of Liberty pier at City Beach where the boy was fishing, according to a Bonner County Sheriff’s Office news release at the time. Bonser was located about 15 feet off the end of the pier, deputies said.

The sheriff’s office dive team recovered Bonser, who lived in Sagle, an unincorporated town about 7 miles south of Sandpoint.

Beers wrote that Bonser frequented City Beach. He said Bonser’s family told him Bonser did not know how to swim.

Beers wrote that he does not know how Bonser ended up in the water.

There was no physical injury or visible trauma to Bonser, he wrote. Bonser was fully clothed and there was no evidence of foul play.

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