crime scene tape

OKANOGAN — A preliminary hearing before Okanogan County Superior Court Judge Chris Culp found Lance R. Bowers, 37, held on $75,000 bail for a charge of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm Thursday, June 6.

“The investigation is continuing on other matters,” said Criminal Prosecutor David Stevens with the Okanogan County Prosecutor’s office.

Bowers is a suspect in an Aeneas Valley death case, according to Sheriff Tony Hawley.

Aeneas Valley Fire District No.16 was toned to a report of a vehicle fire shortly before 4:30 p.m. Monday, June 3. Firefighters then discovered a body in the trunk of the vehicle and contacted the sheriff’s office, Hawley said.

“The investigation indicated an adult male was reportedly seen leaving the car fire which was reported at approximately 4:28 p.m.,” Hawley said. “Information from citizens led sheriff’s office personnel to the vicinity of the Aeneas Valley Store where the suspect was confronted.”

Hawley said Bowers was armed with a firearm and “did not comply with orders and displayed his firearm.”

A sergeant and deputy then fired their weapons and Bowers was shot. 

“Deputies administered first aid and summoned Lifeline to assist in treating his injuries,” Hawley said. “He was transported to Central Washington Hospital (in Wenatchee) via Lifeflight, where he was treated and later released to law enforcement.”

Bowers was booked into Chelan County Jail before being transported to Okanogan County Jail June 4, where he remained as of Chronicle press time.

The “Okanogan County Sheriff’s sergeant, deputy and K9 were unharmed during the incident,” Hawley said. “They are now on paid administrative leave during the investigation as a standard procedure.”

The North Central Washington Special Investigations Unit was contacted to investigate the officer-involved-shooting. 

Authorities have not yet released the fire victim’s identity.

Bowers has not been charged with the death.

An autopsy was scheduled to be performed in the King County Medical Examiner’s office Monday and Tuesday, June10-11, by Okanogan County Coroner David Rodriguez.

“They do one autopsy for identification and a second one for cause of death,” said Stevens. “King County is the only place they can do both in one location.”

Okanogan County Prosecutor Arian Noma credited deputy prosecutor Felecia Chandler with securing the $75,000 bail.

“She did a good job of arguing today and making sure he did not get out, keeping the community safe,” said Noma.

Bowers is also being held on a Department of Corrections (DOC) hold for an out of county felony conviction in 2004 of second-degree assault with sexual motivation resulting in lifetime supervision, or community custody.

“They need to have a hearing with the indeterminate sentence review board to consider whether to revoke his release,” said Stevens, “so he will be held for at least 30 days on that.”

“We needed to do whatever we could on our end to make sure he remains in custody,” said Noma. “We asked for bail in this case in the event something happened, like the DOC hold got dropped; which it wouldn’t, but we were erring on the side of caution.”

“Because of the condition of the body from the fire, we won’t know until at least next week,” Hawley said.

Hawley said a photograph of the suspected victim was not recognizable due to the condition of the body, nor could he say for certain if the victim was a female.

Bowers’ arraignment is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday, June 17 in the Okanogan County Jail courtroom.

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