On Sunday, Sept. 26, the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a camper on fire in an undeveloped campground on Forest Service Road 103. The reporting party advised there was a deceased person at the camper. This was determined to be in Idaho County and both Idaho and Clearwater County deputies responded.
An autopsy conducted on the victim on Sept. 27 determined the victim had injuries consistent with homicidal violence. The victim was identified as 24-year-old Wayne Michael Hodges, of Orofino.
According to the report, Chase William Chandler, 26, of Peck, was arrested in Peck on Tuesday, Sept. 28, on a charge of second-degree murder. He was first booked into the Nez Perce County Jail and transferred to Idaho County on Wednesday afternoon. Chandler appeared before Magistrate Jeff P. Payne on Thursday, Sept. 30 in Idaho County magistrate court. Bail was set at $500,000, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13. John A. Wiltse was assigned to represent Chandler, and Idaho County Prosecutor Kirk A. MacGregor will represent the state.
According to the criminal complaint, Chandler is accused of striking Hodges in the head with a blunt instrument or club, sufficient enough to cause cranial fractures and death.
The Idaho County Sheriff’s Office (ICSO) worked closely with the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office during the initial investigation. ICSO thanked the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Nez Perce County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho County Coroner Cody Funke, the Ada County Coroner’s Office, the Idaho State Police and the Lewiston Police Department for their cooperation and assistance on the case.
Although an arrest has been made, the investigation is ongoing and the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information regarding the case to call (208) 983-1100.