CHALLIS — Benjamin J. Savage, 36, of Challis was arraigned Monday morning on unspecified charges in connection with the murder of Charles L. McBride, 23. The arraignment was a closed hearing before Magistrate Judge James Barrett in Challis.
Savage was arrested Saturday afternoon at Idaho Falls Regional Airport on suspicion of murdering McBride, also of Challis, according to the Custer County Sheriff’s Office. Savage was held in the Bonneville County Jail in Idaho Falls over the weekend but was at the Custer County Jail on Monday.
Barrett sealed Savage’s case at the request of Custer County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Oleson, law enforcement officers said. A court clerk referred The Challis Messenger to Oleson’s office. His secretary said Oleson asked the judge to seal the case because it is an ongoing investigation. Oleson appeared telephonically at Monday's court proceeding because he had court hearings scheduled in Bannock County.
Law enforcement authorities have not released details about Savage’s arrest or what led them to charge him in connection with McBride's death. McBride worked for Savage. Authorities also would not comment on why Savage was at Idaho Falls Regional Airport at the time of his arrest.
McBride’s burned and buried body was found March 24, up the Morgan Creek drainage northwest of Challis. Law enforcement officials said soon afterward that they were investigating his death as a homicide.
Authorities said a tip led to the recovery of McBride’s body, which was subsequently taken to Boise for an autopsy. Authorities have declined to say how long McBride had been dead.
McBride was last seen in Challis on Feb. 25 when he was reportedly going with Savage to cut firewood up Morgan Creek, authorities said. McBride was reported missing March 3, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Savage was the last person to see McBride, Custer County Sheriff Stu Lumpkin said. Savage told police he dropped McBride off in Challis on Feb. 25 to get some work boots.
The Custer County Sheriff's Office last week said that it was investigating multiple suspects in McBride’s murder but did not release any names.