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Idaho murder suspect charged with cannibalism after body parts found in bloody microwave: Police

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Posted at 6:16 AM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 08:22:34-05

BONNER COUNTY, Idaho — According to court documents, an Idaho man accused of killing a 70-year-old man has been charged with cannibalism after allegedly saying that eating the victim would "heal his brain."

When Bonner County prosecutors revised a criminal complaint in the Sept. 10 killing of David Flaget, James David Russell, 39, was already facing a first-degree murder allegation, according to the Bonners Ferry Herald.

Flaget was discovered upside down in the passenger seat of his pickup, prosecutors claimed, with body parts missing and his wrists duct-taped together. Russell attempted to flee sheriff's deputies by barricading himself in a garage, but was apprehended after a brief confrontation.

"There’s a lot of facets we will certainly never know," Bonner County Detective Phillip Stella said last week. "It wasn’t the bloodiest crime scene, but it’s more of the psychological, ‘what the heck is going on here?’ and ‘why am I picking up pieces?’ It’s a walk down the dark path that we don’t see very often."

A bloodied microwave, a glass bowl, a bloody knife, and a duffel bag were also taken, according to the news outlet.

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File: A Bonner County, Idaho sheriff's cruiser

According to court filings, Russell felt he could "heal himself by cutting off portions of flesh" to "cure his brain."

According to the newspaper, he first told officials only one thing: "It’s private property and we don’t like non-family on it."

Stella explained, "Flaget had several conflict-like run-ins with Russell and told the family about them." "The family had enough warning signs that Mr. Russell was a danger to himself or others."

The tissue retrieved from Russell's residence, according to an autopsy done on Sept. 13, belonged to Flaget. Some of his skeletal remains have yet to be discovered.

"When dealing with death and carnage it’s a shock to our conscience," said Stella. "As far as I know this is the first cannibalism charge in Idaho."