SANDPOINT — Local authorities say the disappearance of a Montana woman in Bonner County in September remains a missing persons investigation.
State and federal authorities, however, do not consider Mirissa Serrano to be missing, raising the likelihood that the 27-year-old woman is presumed dead.
The Bonner County Sheriff’s Office sought the public’s help in locating Serrano on Sept. 21. No details about her disappearance were released.
Then came credible murmurs that Serrano’s disappearance was being investigated as a homicide, which was disputed by Undersheriff Ror Lakewold.
“This is an ongoing missing persons case that is actively being investigated,” Lakewold said in an email.
Lakewold added that no further details about Seranno’s disappearance could be released.
Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall has also stated that the matter was being investigated as a missing persons case.
However, authorities in Montana and Idaho do not list Serrano as a missing person, according to each state’s missing persons clearinghouse databases. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Justice does not list Serrano as a missing person, according to the department’s National Missing and Unidentified Persons System website.
Serrano’s father posted on Facebook on Sept. 17 that his daughter was last seen on Sept. 14. He identified a 61-year-old Spokane man by name as a suspect. Serrano said in the all-caps posting that the man was in custody and had changed his story three times during the course of the investigation.
“I fear the worst,” Serrano’s father admitted in the social media post.
There are no pending charges against the identified man, according to the Idaho Supreme Court Data Repository. He was not listed as an inmate in at jails in Bonner, Kootenai or Spokane counties on Friday.
The day after Serrano was reportedly last seen, sheriff’s deputies and Two Bear Air Rescue out of Kalispel, Mont., conducted searches along U.S. Forest Service Road No. 278, according to a Bonner County Dispatch log. The forest route extends north from the Bayview area and follows the eastern shoreline toward the remote outposts of Lakeview and Granite.
Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.