Former Bonner Co. murder suspect released from jail, charges unfounded

KREM 2's Taylor Viydo explains how a murder case in Hope, Idaho now no longer has any suspects. (4-12-17)

SANDPOINT, Idaho – Former murder suspect Nathan Utt walked out of the Bonner County Jail Wednesday after charges were unfounded, Sergeant Mark Crash confirmed. 

Utt, 41, was being held as the main suspect in the death of 78-year-old Shirley Ramey after spending several days on the run. He was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service in Spokane on Friday night. 

"All we know is that the warrant was quashed," said Crash. "This has all happened very quickly." 

The Bonner County prosecuting attorney said Utt had an alibi.

“Mr. Utt was transported over here late last night and the detectives interviewed him this morning," said Louis Marshall, the Bonner County prosecuting attorney. "He provided an alibi that put him out of the state the morning of the murder.”

Marshall said they investigated that alibi enough to "believe it to be true." 

"When interviewed, Nathan Utt provided legitimate and verifiable information as to his whereabouts," Bonner County Sheriff's Office wrote in the release. "This information, verified and confirmed, placed him in Eugene, Oregon at the time of the suspicious death."

Ror Lakewold, the Bonner County undersheriff, said Utt was at a medical facility in Oregon. The medical facility verified Utt had shown his ID there. 

Officials said in a release several local eyewitnesses had placed Utt in the area of the homicide during the correct time frame.

The BCSO release said detectives appeared before a magistrate and were able to obtain an arrest warrant for Utt based upon the seriousness of the crime. Wednesday BCSO said the charges against Utt were "dropped without prejudice."
 

"At this time, it is an ongoing investigation and we're looking into other leads," Marshall, the prosecuting attorney said. "[We have] no other suspects at this time."

Utt politely declined to be interviewed on Wednesday, but said "I didn't do it" to a KREM 2 reporter. 

Marshall said they hoped some forensic evidence from the scene that is still being processed would give investigators some new leads in the case.

According to deputies, on April 5 around 5:00 p.m., deputies responded to a home on Trestle Creek Road and found Ramey murdered. Officials said it took more than 24 hours to identify Utt as a suspect and previously state they had probable cause to bring charges against him. On Wednesday, those charges were unfounded. 

Authorities are asking people in the area to be vigilant and to contact dispatch at 208-265-5525 with any information about the case. Anonymous tips can be left at 208-255-COPS.

 "We want people to be vigilant about hitchhikers, who they answer the door for. If they're suspect of anybody at their door or their driveway, I encourage them to call our dispatch center," said Lakewold.

© 2017 KREM-TV


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