(MISSOULA) Detectives with the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office in Idaho are now treating the death of Mirissa Serrano of Lolo as a homicide, after positive identification of her body.
Serrano, 27 years old, vanished a year ago after she walked out of a Lolo bar with a 62-year old Daniel Neep.
Serrano was working at KT’s Hayloft Saloon on the evening shift when she met Neep. Seemingly on the spur of the moment, her family said she decided to quit and go with Neep.
Neep later told the Spokesman-Review after his arrest on an outstanding warrant that Serrano had returned with him to Spokane, where he had an apartment.
He says she then joined him on a trip to his cabin in Lakeview, Idaho, where he says Serrano started talking about coming back to Montana, and left him while he was sleeping in his truck.
Serrano’s family stopped receiving her texts on September 14, 2017 and the former University of Montana student was the subject of an extensive and unsuccessful search last fall.
A hunter found her remains along a US Forest Service Road on the southeastern shore on Lake Pend Oreille on September 27.
That was in the same area where a ground and aerial search involving Two Bear Air of Kalispell took place last fall. Authorities now say testing at the state crime lab in Missoula confirmed Serrano’s identity.
“We’re fortunate that we’ve positively identified her. And it’s been treated as a suspicious disappearance/death since basically the beginning of the investigation. Now, this just confirms what our suspicions have led us to believe,” Booner County Undersheriff Ror Lakewold said.
Lakewold says investigators would appreciate hearing from anyone in Lolo that may have information that could help investigators.
“You know, certainly if anybody has any information about the relationship with Mr. Neep — however, we know it was short — if somebody has information we certainly would like to hear about that,” Lakewold said.
“We’ve reached out to a lot of family and friends and gotten the information that was available. But if anybody hasn’t talked to us and has information we certainly like to hear about it,” he added.
Lakewold says detectives are discussing the filing of criminal charges with prosecutors.
Family members have created a GoFundMe account to help raise money for burial expenses; click here if you would like to help.
Neep is currently incarcerated in the Idaho State Correctional Institution in Boise for an unrelated matter.
- Reported by Denise Bragg