The driver, identified as 26-year-old Bernard K. Howell III, of Tenino, was booked into the Thurston County Jail for investigation of second-degree murder and first-degree theft. Monday afternoon, a judge set bail at $750,000
Investigators say a man spotted Howell along Highway 507 near the Yelm to Tenino trail, by himself, loading a body into his truck. Police say Howell asked the man to help put the body in the passenger seat because the back of his truck was filled with a large, white refrigerator he used to store meat.
The man refused, drove into town and flagged down a deputy. The deputy spotted the truck a short time later and stopped the driver near Tenino Elementary School.
Chamberlain said the man admitted to the deputy he had a body in his pickup and said he found the body along the trail and was trying to save the family the cost of a funeral.
UPDATE: The victim was identified Tuesday as Vanda Boone, a 60-year-old woman who had moved to the area from New York in March, according to her employer and Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock. Boone died from having her throat slit, Warnock said. Blunt-force injuries to her head and neck and asphyxia also contributed to her death, he said. Bernard Kieth Howell sexually molested her body, court papers state.
|Bernard Howell's truck|
|Bernard K. Howell III|