SANDPOINT — A Kelso Lake man has been arrested for using the bank card of a woman who hasn’t been seen since early March.
Jordan Jarrad Law remains held at the Bonner County while awaiting a preliminary hearing on the felony charge, according to court documents. Law is accused of unlawfully using a financial transaction card belonging to Rae Allison Berwanger in the days after her disappearance to withdraw $1,200 from the woman’s account.
Berwanger, 54, was last seen by her brother on March 3 at Law’s Kelso Lake Road residence, although her last date of contact is listed as March 5 on the Idaho State Police Missing Persons Clearinghouse website. Her disappearance is classified as that of a person who is over the age of 18 for whom there is a reasonable concern for their safety.
Berwanger’s brother told investigators that his sister reported having a falling out with Law and was intending to relocate to Washington state.
Berwanger’s brother, in addition to other friends and family, attempted to contact the woman by phone and social media, but were unable to reach her and received no return messages, according to court documents. Visits to the home also yielded no sign of Berwanger.
Berwanger moved into Law’s home earlier this year, after being asked to leave a different Kelso Lake Road home due to excessive drinking and disagreements with one of the homeowners, court records indicate.
Law, 41, told authorities he hadn’t seen Berwanger in more than a week, after selling her his Pontiac Grand Am for $800. He told investigators he last saw the vehicle in his driveway on March 5 and believed Berwanger either went to Florida to visit her son or to Alaska to meet up with somebody she became acquainted with over social media. He described Berwanger as a former girlfriend who was currently his roommate, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Law claimed to have found the Pontiac high-centered on a snowbank at the corner of Diagonal and Clagstone roads on March 7 and “leap-frogged” his vehicle and the Pontiac back to his home, a distance of 10 miles, court records indicate.
However, investigators obtained surveillance camera footage from banks in Spirit lake and Coeur d’Alene which showed Law made three $400 withdrawals using Berwanger’s debit card while driving the Pontiac on March 4, March 5 and March 6, which contradicted an earlier statement in which he said he hadn’t seen the vehicle between March 5-7. Law, the affidavit said, was confronted by detectives and admitted lying about the Pontiac but had no explanation for the fabrication.
“He did not provide a reason for why he invented the story. Law stated the Pontiac had been in his possession the entire time,” Det. Matthew Wallace said in the affidavit.
A warrant was issued for Law’s arrested in April and he was arrested on Wednesday. He made an initial appearance in Bonner County Magistrate Court on Thursday and a public defender was appointed to represent him, court records show.
Law agreed to a series of pretrial release conditions, although there is no record of him posting bond in the matter. A preliminary hearing in the case is set for May 29.
Berwanger is Caucasian who stands 5 feet 6 inches and weighs 170 pounds. She has fair skin, a scar on her abdomen and tattoos on her abdomen, left ankle and right shoulder. She’s also known to wear eyeglasses.
Berwanger is also known as Rae Allison Arnold and Rae Allison King, according to the missing persons clearinghouse.
Those with information about Berwanger’s whereabouts are asked to call the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office at 208-263-8417,
Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.