Third suspect in alleged kidnapping arrested

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PONDERAY — A third suspect was arrested Friday in connection with the seizure and beating of a Sandpoint man, an assault allegedly committed in the wake of a violent confrontation at Grouse Creek.

Curtis Charles Allen Kluesner was wanted on warrants for attempted first-degree kidnapping and battery. He was also sought for arrest for failing to appear at a sentencing hearing in a unrelated misdemeanor case and probation violations.

Kluesner, 19, was taken into custody without incident at about 3 p.m. on Friday in Ponderay, said Sandpoint Police Lt. Corey Coon.

 Kluesner and two others are accused of forcing a 20-year-old Sandpoint man into a vehicle on Aug. 16 and pummeling him. The alleged victim managed to escape.

Kluesner’s alleged accomplice, Jonathan Dean Lewis, was arrested earlier this month. Krystal Lynn Marie Hepinstall, who is accused of driving the vehicle into which the victim was forced, is charged with second-degree kidnapping.

Kluesner and Lewis, 21, await preliminary hearings in magistrate court. Hepinstall, 18, waived her right to a preliminary hearing and is scheduled to be arraigned in 1st District Court next month.

The Aug. 16 incident in Sandpoint came about two weeks after the assault at a campsite near Grouse Creek Falls, a clash which is still being investigated by the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office.

A Sandpoint Police report indicated the 20-year-old was targeted because he allegedly knew who perpetrated the July 30 assault at Grouse Creek. A teenage relative of Lewis’ was reportedly struck in the face with the stock of a rifle.

Sheriff’s Lt. Doug Harris said a chief suspect has emerged in the Grouse Creek incident. The suspect is in custody out of state and a photo lineup has been shown to the victim.

“We’re just following up on that to see if, through the photo array that we have, the victim can identify the person that assaulted him,” Harris said on Friday.

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