PONDERAY — A body found in a wooded area east of U.S. Highway 95 on Dec. 15 has been identified as that of Brendan Earl Carpenter, a Bonner County man who had been missing since May.
Carpenter, 22, was positively identified through dental records, according to the Ponderay Police Department.
The autopsy report is still pending and a cause of death has not been determined, the department said in a news release issued on Monday.
Foul play has not been ruled in or out, police Chief Mike Hutter said.
Carpenter was last seen leaving the Bonner Gospel Mission in Ponderay on May 22. He reportedly
made suicidal remarks prior to his disappearance, according to the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office.
At the time of his disappearance, Carpenter was the subject of a $40,000 bench warrant for failing to appear for a presentence interview in a felony eluding and drunken-driving case, according to the Idaho Supreme Court data repository.
Carpenter allegedly led Ponderay Police on a high-speed chase on U.S. 95 in April.
The sheriff’s office asked for the public’s help in finding Carpenter in August. At the time, Carpenter may have been in the company of William Richard Bartlett, whom sheriff’s officials described as a transient with a violent streak.
However, it remains unclear what involvement — if any — Bartlett had in Carpenter’s disappearance or his death, investigators say.
At least one member of the public knew Carpenter’s body was in the woods north of Schweitzer Plaza Drive, but never contacted the authorities. An anonymous tipster called The Daily Bee to report there was a body in that general area. The tip was run by Ponderay Police in an attempt to determine its accuracy.
“It seems people had knowledge of the body and they chose not to contact authorities and let us know. I find that very disheartening,” Hutter said.
Those with information about Carpenter’s disappearance or death are encouraged to call Ponderay Police at 265-4251 or Bonner Dispatch at 265-5525.