OKANOGAN – A Tonasket man was arrested Nov. 22 in connection with an ongoing homicide/arson investigation that began in June.

Lance R. Bowers, 37, was first arrested in June on a firearms possession charge and has been in jail since then. On Nov. 20, Bowers was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder and second-degree arson in the death of his wife, Angela M. Bowers, 38, said Okanogan County Sheriff Tony Hawley.

During a preliminary appearance Nov. 21 in Okanogan County Superior Court, the county’s contract public defender was appointed to represent Bowers. Bail was set at $1.5 million.

Arraignment is set for Dec. 9.

The investigation began June 3 after Aeneas Valley Fire District No. 16 responded to a vehicle fire east of Tonasket. Firefighters extinguished the fire and discovered a burned body in the trunk of the vehicle.

The remains were burnt beyond recognition, Hawley said.

During the investigation, Sgt. Tait Everett and Deputy Isaiah Holloway contacted Lance Bowers near the fire scene.

“During that contact, he presented a firearm and was shot by those deputies,” said Hawley. “Sgt. Everett also utilized K-9 Havoc during the contact.”

Neither deputy was injured. Bowers was airlifted to Central Washington Hospital, Wenatchee, and treated for his injuries and then released. He was booked into Chelan County Regional Jail and later transferred to the Okanogan County Jail on suspicion of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

Okanogan County Coroner Dave Rodriguez ordered an autopsy be conducted to determine the identity of the person in the trunk, along with the cause and manner of death. After the autopsy, results were still inconclusive for the identity, but the victim was determined to be a female, Hawley said.

DNA evidence was sent to the Washington State Patrol crime laboratory for scientific examination.

When results came back, Rodriguez issued a death certificate identifying the victim as Angela M. Bowers. She had been listed as a missing person since June 17.

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