An Orofino resident was bludgeoned to death last week, and a Peck man has been charged with second-degree murder in connection.

Chase William Chandler, 24, is currently incarcerated in the Idaho County jail, with bond set at $500,000. He was arraigned last Thursday, Sept. 30, and he is scheduled for arraignment Oct. 13 in magistrate court.

According to the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office (ICSO), the victim is identified as Wayne Michael Hodges, 24, of Orofino.

The incident was reported last Saturday, Sept. 26, to the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office of a camper fire in an undeveloped campground between Forest Service Road 103 and Lolo Creek, as well as a deceased person at the site. The location is about 17 air miles from Kamiah. According to ICSO, this was determined to be in Idaho County, and both Idaho and Clearwater county deputies responded.

According to the probable cause report, Hodges’ body was found about five feet from the entrance to the camper. The Sept. 27 autopsy at the Ada County Coroner’s Office revealed at least 10 distinct blows to Hodges’ head, sufficient to indent and cause cranial fractures, and, according to forensic pathologist Garth Warren, the victim died as a result of homicidal violence.

During a scene search by ICSO Corporal Jason Hicks, Deputy Josh Compton and Sheriff Doug Ulmer, according to the report, Ulmer found an apparent club, made from a section of logging cable, in the Lolo Creek stream bed, which was placed into evidence.

Searching the remains of the camper, the report continued, the state fire marshal found indications an accelerant was used to purposely start the fire, in locations near where the body was lying, leading to the camper and in the entrance to the camper.

According to the report, Chandler was among an unspecified number of people, as well as Hodges and his wife, Ashtin, at the camper on Sept. 25. Investigation of witness reports of interactions involving Chandler and others during this day and later that evening led investigators to apply for an arrest warrant for Chandler.

Although an arrest has been made, the investigation is ongoing. ICSO asks if the public has any information regarding this case to contact them: 208-983-1100, option 0.

In an ICSO statement: “The Idaho County Sheriff’s Office worked closely with the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office during this investigation. ICSO would like to thank 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 this case.”

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