UPDATE: Wednesday 11:00 a.m.
The Bonner County Prosecutor has confirmed with KHQ that murder charges against Nathan Utt have been dropped. The prosecutor says Utt had an alibi that checked out.
The Bonner County Sheriff's Office says Utt was initially the primary suspect in the death of 78-year-old Shirley Ann Ramey after local eyewitnesses said they saw Utt in the area of Ramey's home prior to her death on April 5th. Based on the seriousness of the crime, an arrest warrant was issued and Utt was eventually arrested and charged.
On Wednesday, those charges were dropped after Utt provided investigators with "legitimate and verifiable information as to his whereabouts." Utt told detectives he was in Eugene, Oregon at the time of Ramey's death, which detectives were able to confirm. After receiving this information, Utt was released and charges against him were dropped without prejudice by the Bonner County Prosecutor.
Peter Maxwell from KHQ interviewed Nathan Utt's brother Nick on Wednesday after Nathan's release:
The investigation into Ramey's death is ongoing and the Sheriff's Office says other leads are still being looked into.
Residents in the area are asked to remain vigilant, and anyone with information in reference to this case is asked to contact either Bonner County Dispatch at 208-265-5525 or to report anonymous tips to 208-255-COPS (2677).
Update, Saturday 1:40 p.m.: Following the arrest of Bonner County murder suspect Nathan Utt, the Bonner County Sheriff's Office reports they are continuing to interview witnesses and process evidence in what Sheriff Daryl Wheeler called a "complicated and tenacious investigation" on Saturday.
The sheriff's office continues to investigate the murder of 78-year-old Hope, Idaho, resident Shirley Ann Ramey. Utt was taken into custody at the Spokane Amtrak station overnight Friday into Saturday morning without incident.
Deputies report it took more than 24 hours into the murder investigation to identify Utt as a suspect and find probable cause to bring charges against him. The sheriff's office says there appears to be no relationship between the Rameys and Utt, who at the time of the murder on April 5, was living in a camper on Trestle Creek Road, about one-fourth of a mile from Ramey's home.
As part of the investigation, detectives discovered that Utt had fled Idaho and was believed to be in Oregon. With help from the US Marshall Service, authorities were able to track Utt's whereabouts and arrest him in Spokane. Utt is currently in the Spokane County Jail awaiting extradition back to Idaho.
Sheriff Wheeler praised all the agencies involved in bringing Utt into custody, including Sandpoint Police, the Coeur d'Alene Police Department Community Action Team, Spokane Police, Spokane Sheriff's Office as well as the Bonner County Sheriff's Office.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Ramey family as they deal with this senseless tragedy," Sheriff Wheeler said in a release.
Update, Saturday, 8:30 a.m.: The Bonner County Sheriff's Office reports that, with the assistance of the US Marshall's Service, Nathan Lane Utt was taken in to custody in Spokane Friday night. Authorities tracked the murder suspect down and arrested him without further danger or threat to the community.
Update: Bonner County Sheriff's Office have identified the elderly woman murdered Thursday as 78-year-old Shirley Ann Ramey from Hope.
Suspect Nathan Lane Utt now has a first degree murder warrant issued for his arrest.
He is still currently at large.
If you have any information where he might be, please call police immediately.
He is considered armed and dangerous and caution should be taken if contacted.
Deputies in Bonner County are searching for 41-year-old Nathan Lane Utt, a transient they believe murdered an elderly woman Thursday.
Deputies responded to a residence on Trestle Creek Road to investigate a report of an unresponsive elderly woman who was discovered by her husband.
When deputies arrived, they determined that she had died and investigation was initiated.
After careful investigation, they determined Utt as a suspect.
Utt is considered armed and dangerous and caution should be taken if you see him.
He is described as 6’1 tall, 180lbs and is believed to be wearing a blue colored jacket or green full-length trench coat.
He generally carries a backpack with him and is known to frequent local soup kitchens and food banks in the Sandpoint area.
Detectives would like to speak with anyone who has had recent contact with Utt.
(story, video, and photo: KHQ.com)