OKANOGAN – An autopsy performed on a body found in the trunk of a burning vehicle east of Tonasket June 3 was not able to determine the identity of the victim due to the condition of the body.
Okanogan County Coroner David Rodriguez said the autopsy was performed in Seattle at the King County Medical Examiner’s office Tuesday, June 11.
“They have a forensic pathologist as well as a forensic odontologist, or dentist, and they are the ones who would do the ID on the remains,” said Rodriguez. “In this case, we were not able to identify the body due to the state of the body including the dental.”
Rodriguez said DNA would be submitted for testing, but results would take a long time.
The autopsy, however, did determine the cause of death according to Rodriguez.
“We were able to confirm this was a homicide,” said Rodriguez. He was not able to release the cause of death, as it is an ongoing investigation.
Detective Kreg Sloan, who is leading the investigation, could not be immediately reached for comment.
Rodriguez said in attending the autopsy, he is able to collect any evidence obtained, and to consult with the forensic pathologist regarding what was found at the scene and provide any background information about the case.
Lance R. Bowers, 37, remains in the Okanogan County Jail in connection to the case.
Bowers was shot in the vicinity of the Aeneas Valley Store by Okanogan County Sheriff's deputies when he allegedly did not comply with orders and was displaying a firearm. Witnesses said Bowers was allegedly seen fleeing the scene of the burning vehicle.
Sheriff’s deputies administered first aid to Bowers following the shooting, who was then treated at the scene by Lifeline Ambulance. Bowers was transported to Central Washington Hospital via Lifeflight, treated and released to law enforcement. Following a short stay in Chelan County Jail, he was transported to Okanogan County Jail June 4.
Bowers has not been charged with the death. He is being held on a Department of Corrections hold for an out of county felony conviction in 2004 of second-degree assault with sexual motivation resulting in lifetime supervision, or community custody, according to officials.
As a felon, Bowers is not allowed to be in possession of a firearm and is currently being held on $75,000 bail for a charge of first-degree possessions of a firearm.
Bowers is scheduled for an arraignment in the Okanogan County Jail courtroom at 1:30 p.m. Monday, June 17.