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Docs: Priest River murder suspect kidnapped man, forced him to help dispose of woman's body

Bradley Leader told a detective that he "had no remorse" for killing the victim and "only felt sorry for himself," court records say.
Credit: Bonner County Sheriff's Office
Bradley Michael Leader

WARNING: This story contains graphic content. 

PRIEST RIVER, Idaho —  A man accused of murdering a woman is Priest River kidnapped a man at gunpoint and forced him to help dispose of her body, according to court documents. 

Bradley Michael Leader, 67, of Priest River is charged with second-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping and aggravated assault following the discovery of 66-year-old Eveline Ursula Pederson's body. A judge set his bond at $1,000,000. 

Pederson was reported missing by her longtime partner, Joseph Clark, in Priest River on Wednesday, Aug. 19, the Bonner County Sheriff's Office said in a release. 

Clark told authorities he last saw Pederson at their home on Monday, Aug. 17, before she left the property to clean cabins in the Priest Lake area, the sheriff's office said. 

Detectives found Pederson's body in a remote area of Priest River on Friday, Aug. 21 with the help of a Bonner County Sheriff's Volunteer Search and Rescue cadaver dog, according to BCSO. 

On Friday, Aug. 21, a man flagged down a sergeant working for the sheriff's office in Priest River. He said he was kidnapped, held at gunpoint and forced to help dispose of a human body, court records say.

The victim told police he had known the person who kidnapped him, identified as Bradley (Brad) Leader, for more than 20 years, according to court documents.

According to court records, the man told detectives that Leader was at his home in Priest River on Friday, Aug. 20. Leader requested that the man drive him up to Pederson and Clark’s residence.

The man told police that Leader produced a .45-caliber revolver before they arrived at the home, court records say. Leader then told the man that he was going to assist him in disposing of a human body and threatened to kill the man if he did not comply, according to court documents. 

When the man objected, Leader allegedly cocked the hammer back on the revolver while pointing it at him, according to court documents.

Credit: Bonner County Sheriff's Office
Bradley Michael Leader

The two then drove to a remote portion of Pederson and Clark’s property, which is reportedly more than 40 acres, according to court records. Leader first took the man to a location where a Chrysler minivan registered to Clark was parked.

According to court documents, the minivan appeared to be stuck in loose mud. The man told detectives that he and Leader were able to free the vehicle.

Leader then ordered the man to drive the minivan while following in his vehicle, court records say. They drove a short distance to an area where there was a small pile of lumber.

The man said Leader removed some of the lumber to reveal a woman’s body, who appeared to be Pederson, according to court records. Leader confirmed with that it was Pederson and said he killed her following an argument, court records say. 

The man told police that he refused to touch the body and Leader loaded it into the minivan, according to court records. Leader then ordered the man to drive the minivan into a remote forested area in Priest River.

Court records say that the man witnessed Leader removing the body from the minivan and disposing of it on the side of the road.

Leader then ordered the man to drive the minivan again and parked it off the side of Highway 57, where it was concealed behind trees and shrubs, according to court documents. The man said Leader ordered him back into his vehicle, where they drove for several hours before arriving back at his home just before dawn on Friday, Aug. 21.

According to court records, the man told detectives that Leader had the gun with him the entire time and kept an eye on him, even while they were inside his home. He added that he “knew” Leader was going to kill him.

When Leader appeared distracted later that morning, the man fled out the back of his home and ran to the Priest River Police Department, according to court documents. No officers were present, but the man saw a sheriff’s vehicle shortly after and flagged down the sergeant.

The man took detectives to the area where Leader disposed of the body, where search-and-rescue dogs were quickly able to find it, court records say. Detectives also found the minivan along Highway 57 in Bonner County.

According to court records, the van appeared to have blood on the interior and “emanated the odor consistent with decomposing flesh.”

Leader was later detained without incident at the man’s house, court documents say.

The man then guided authorities to Clark and Pederson’s home, where they notified Clark that Pederson was deceased, according to court documents.

Credit: Bonner County Sheriff's Office
Eveline Ursula Pederson

A detective then went to the jail to interview Leader, who said he and Pederson had been arguing at her property, according to court documents. Leader said he punched Pederson in the face at some point during the argument and she ended up on the ground.

Leader told the detective he tried to strangle Pederson with a piece of bailing twine before grabbing a concrete brick and hitting her in the head with it, according to court documents. He said he “only stopped when he knew she was dead,” court records say.

Leader also described loading Pederson’s body into the minivan and driving it to a remote area of the property, according to court documents. When the minivan got stuck, he said he loaded Pederson’s body into a wheelbarrow and took it to a different area of the property.

Leader said he then took a bicycle and road it to the kidnapping victim’s house, court records say. He confirmed the story about kidnapping the man at gunpoint, and forcing him to help hide the body and minivan.

According to court records, Leader told the detective “he had no remorse for killing [Pederson] and only felt sorry for himself.” He also told the detective that Pederson “deserved to die.”