A man has been arrested on suspicion of killing a transgender Vancouver girl who was missing for six months.
David Y. Bogdanov, 25, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of second-degree murder, according to a Vancouver Police Department news release. He is suspected of killing Nikki Kuhnhausen, 17, who disappeared June 5. Bogdanov is scheduled to make a first appearance Wednesday morning in Clark County Superior Court.
Kuhnhausen, whose legal first name is Nikolas, identified as female. Vancouver Police Lt. Tom Ryan said Bogdanov killed Kuhnhausen after learning that she was assigned male at birth, according to KATU News.
Friends and associates told detectives that Kuhnhausen had left the residence of a friend she was staying with the night of June 5 and met up with an unknown male, according to the news release.
Detectives with the Vancouver Police Department Digital Evidence Cybercrime Unit accessed information from Kuhnhausen’s Snapchat account, according to police. The account led them to a person who communicated with her in the early hours of June 6. A search warrant for the Snapchat account corroborated that Kuhnhausen and Bogdanov had met and that he had driven her in his vehicle, police said.
In an interview with detectives Oct. 2, Bogdanov said he had been with Kuhnhausen on June 5, according to the release. He said he asked her to get out of his vehicle after a conflict and that he never saw her again after she walked away, police said.
An analysis of Bogdanov’s cellphone showed it at a variety of locations, including an area near Larch Mountain early June 6, police said. On Dec. 7, someone reported finding a human skull in the woods at Larch Mountain. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Clark County Search and Rescue located additional human remains and other evidence, and a forensic analysis confirmed the remains were those of Kuhnhausen.
The Vancouver Police Department has scheduled a press conference for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
After Kuhnhausen’s disappearance from her friend’s house near Fourth Plain Boulevard and Brandt Road, a Facebook page Help Find Nikki — overseen by the National Women’s Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation — was established. Detectives with the Vancouver Police Department’s Missing Person Unit started an investigation June 10, and Crime Stoppers of Oregon offered a cash reward for information leading to an arrest.
More than 1,000 flyers were printed and distributed throughout Vancouver and Portland by July 14, with more flyers printed after that, according to a Facebook post by NWCAVE. More flyers were printed in the effort to find Kuhnhausen than in any other cases pursued by the Vancouver-based women’s coalition, said Michelle Bart, president and co-founder.
The story of Kuhnhausen’s disappearance was shared widely on social media, leading to some tips that were handed over to investigators, according to the post.