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Brian Bodle's body found next to burned van on a remote U.S. Forest Service road near Cougar

By Newberg Graphic staff

Law enforcement authorities are continuing an investigation after a man found dead in rural Skamania County, Wash., was identified as a Newberg resident.

The investigation began on the afternoon of Jan. 24 after the Skamania County Sheriff's Office was notified of "suspicious circumstances" near the junction of two U.S. Forest Service roads approximately six miles east of Cougar, Wash.. The area is a popular recreation destination near the base of Mount Saint Helens and within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Detectives who responded to the area found a deceased individual and the burned shell of a mini-van. The body had not been burned, detectives said. The detectives cordoned off the area and began processing the scene, according to a release from the sheriff's office.

An autopsy performed in the ensuing days determined that the victim was male and had died of "homicidal violence," but did not elaborate on the cause, nor when the individual was killed.

Brian Austin Bodle, 24, was identified by the sheriff's office as the individual found dead in the forest, according to KOIN-TV. The sheriff's office delayed releasing the identification until the results of the autopsy were in hand and Bodle's next of kin had been notified.

Although the sheriff's office didn't speculate on a motive for the murder, Bodle was familiar to law enforcement in his town of residence.

Bodle had his share of run-ins with the Newberg-Dundee Police Department. According to court documents, he was last arrested in February 2017 for possession of heroin, resisting arrest and interfering with a police officer after a traffic stop on Dayton Avenue. The arresting officer, according to a probable cause affidavit, found drugs and paraphernalia on Bodle during a search.

A Yamhill County grand jury returned an indictment against Bodle several days later, accusing him of unlawful possession of heroin, a felony, and resisting arrest, a misdemeanor. He pleaded guilty to the possession charge in March 2017 and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and to pay nearly $1,100 in attorney fees and fines. In exchange for his guilty plea, the resisting arrest charge was dropped.

Past struggles with drugs

Bodle, according to many Facebook posts, was attempting to enter or re-enter rehab for drug use. In May, he reported on Facebook that he was planning to fly to Florida to enter a drug rehab facility and posts by friends offered help and encouragement.

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