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News / Clark County News

Prosecutors rest case against Bogdanov in murder trial

Vancouver man, 27, accused of strangling 17-year-old Nikki Kuhnhausen

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: August 23, 2021, 6:04pm

Clark County prosecutors rested their case against David Bogdanov on Monday afternoon, following four days of testimony in the murder and hate-crime trial.

Bogdanov is accused of strangling 17-year-old Nikki Kuhnhausen in June 2019 after learning she was transgender.

The prosecution told the Superior Court jury that Bogdanov dumped her body on Larch Mountain and fled to Ukraine later that day. He is charged with second-degree murder and malicious harassment, now legally called a hate-crime offense in Washington.

The 27-year-old Vancouver man’s defense attorneys will begin calling their witnesses Tuesday morning.

Bogdanov did not indicate before court adjourned Monday whether he will testify or invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The defense attorneys also declined to say whether they plan to call additional witnesses.

The defense said during opening statements Kuhnhausen attacked Bogdanov first and that he strangled the teen in self-defense.

Kuhnhausen was missing for about six months when her remains were found Dec. 7, 2019, in a remote, wooded area of Larch Mountain.

Several law enforcement officers testified about the travel pattern of Bogdanov’s phone the day Kuhnhausen disappeared on June 6, 2019.

FBI Special Agent Sean Kennedy said the phone was in the area of downtown Vancouver, then Brush Prairie to Larch Mountain, and back to Brush Prairie. At the time, Bogdanov’s brother, Artur Bogdanov, lived in Brush Prairie, and his other brother, Stanislav Bogdanov, lived in downtown Vancouver, according to investigators.

According to testimony from witnesses last week, Kuhnhausen met Bogdanov in downtown Vancouver after dark June 5, 2019, when she was out walking. She returned to the apartment she was staying at, wearing a man’s green jacket, and told her friends she’d met someone while she was out.

Phone records showed Kuhnhausen and Bogdanov messaging on Snapchat about plans to meet up again a few hours later and that he arrived to pick her up.

Vancouver police Detective David Jensen read from Google records Monday that showed Bogdanov searched “Kiev flights” on the day Kuhnhausen went missing. Flight records showed Bogdanov purchased a one-way ticket from Portland to Atlanta to Kiev, Ukraine. He then flew back to the U.S. to Charlotte, N.C., on July 15. In late August, he flew back to Portland, Jensen said.

Vancouver police Detective Carole Boswell unpackaged some evidence while on the stand Monday and showed the jury a broken zipper on the green jacket found with Kuhnhausen’s remains. Boswell also held up a black phone charger that prosecutors say Bogdanov used to strangle Kuhnhausen.