Spirit Lake teen death investigation continues - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Spirit Lake teen death investigation continues

Cause of death being determined, few details released

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Posted: Thursday, April 5, 2012 12:15 am

SPIRIT LAKE - Investigators say it will be four to six weeks before more details are released about the case of the Spirit Lake teen found dead and partially submerged in Spirit Lake on March 25.

Detectives aren't saying whether they believe the death of Luke Anana-Kuewa, 18, was an accident or suspicious based on their investigation.

"We will not be releasing any further information until we receive all of the final reports from the autopsy," Major Ben Wolfinger of the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department wrote in an email to The Press. "This includes the toxicology reports."

The Kootenai County Prosecutor's Office will review the case after the KCSD investigation.

"We cannot investigate incidents in the media," Wolfinger said "That clouds the issues and causes too much interference with the investigation. I must protect the integrity of the investigation so we know that it is done correctly, efficiently and completely.

"We will gather facts and not speculate. It will just take some time."

Investigators have been speaking to the people who may have seen Anana-Kuewa before he ended up in the icy waters to determine why he was in the small cove on the north end of the lake.

The lake was mostly frozen with open water near shore on much of the lake.

"I cannot say at this time if there was ice around where he was found," Wolfinger said.

The initial call came into the 911 center about 11:45 a.m. and was reported by people who had been walking along the shoreline of the lake. Once on scene, responders could only see a small portion of the back side of what appeared to be a person in the water.

Spirit Lake Police Chief Pat Lawless said the KCSD has kept the investigation tight even with him.

"There's a group of kids being questioned," Lawless said, declining to comment further.

Lawless said Anana-Kuewa's parents moved from Spirit Lake to Hawaii last year. Anana-Kuewa and his sister moved back and stayed with friends.

"He was a very well-liked kid," Lawless said. "When he moved back to town, he told me he was living with friends and going to finish the school year here."

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