An Idaho man charged with murder and cannibalism in the death of a 70-year-old man allegedly believed that eating the victim’s flesh would “cure his brain.”
James David Russell, 39, is accused of killing David Flaget in September after tissue belonging to the victim was found inside Russell’s home in Clark Fork, the Bonners Ferry Herald reported.
Russell was taken into custody after authorities found Flaget’s body in a vehicle outside the alleged killer’s home on Sept. 10.
Newly released court documents reveal some of the victim’s remains were missing when his body was found.
Authorities said Russell believed he could “heal himself by cutting off portions of flesh” in order to “cure his brain,” according to the court documents.
During the investigation, police allegedly seized a blood-soaked microwave, glass bowl and knife from Russell’s home.
There was evidence that a clean-up kit was used to dispose of remains and evidence, authorities said.
Some of Flaget’s remains still haven’t been found. It wasn’t immediately clear what remains were still missing.
Russell was arrested on the murder charge in September, but prosecutors added the cannibalism charge last week, the court documents show.
Bonner County Detective Phillip Stella said it is believed to be the first cannibalism charge in the state.
“There’s a lot of facets we will certainly never know,” Stella said.
“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.”
Court proceedings in his case were paused in October after a judge ordered Russell to undergo a mental evaluation.
Russell is scheduled to appear for a review hearing on Dec. 28.