SPOKANE COUNTY, March 29, 2013 – The Spokane County Medical Examiner's Office has confirmed the identity of the man who was found on March 27, 2013 in Chattaroy, WA as 17-year-old Donavin D Stapert.
The cause of death is pending toxicology reports.
SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash – Spokane County Sheriff's detectives confirmed Wednesday afternoon, they found a body buried 4-5 feet deep in a thickly wooded area of north Spokane County.
The discovery came after Whitman County Sheriff's detectives got a tip that a body may be buried in the rural spot near Elk-Chattaroy & Bruce Roads. Whitman County Sheriff Brett Meyers confirmed the tip was related to the investigation into Donavin Stapert, 17, who was initially reported missing from Malden, Washington, on March 7th, and was later presumed dead.
Investigators believe Stapert was given drugs, died of an overdose, and that those involved hid his body. Three people have been arrested in connection with the case: Chastity Barkhuff, 38, James Ramson, 30, and Bobby Bilderback, 44.
Sheriff Meyers would not say whether the tip of the location of the body was given by one of the suspects, he would only say it "came from information developed in the course of the investigation."
The Major Crimes and Forensics team from the Spokane County Sheriff's Department was called to assist Whitman County in searching the plot of forest on state land where the body was said to be. They did find a spot where the dirt appeared to have been disturbed, and tire tracks leading to the area.
After several hours of gathering evidence, they began digging through six-inches of dirt at a time. The dirt was put through a sieve to look for anything non-natural, and the sheriff helicopter ‘Air 1' was also called in to gather aerial video of the search area and scene.
A neighbor living across the street from the search area told KHQ she sees traffic in and out of a dirt road leading into the forest all the time, but did not see or hear anything suspicious, adding "my heart goes out to his family."
The Medical Examiner's office will confirm the identity of the body recovered once the autopsy is complete.