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Left, David Bush. Right, Lynn Bush DNA, persistence built case
By TOM MORTON
Star-Tribune staff writer Monday, August 07, 2006
David Labon Bush, who had bragged about committing the perfect crime, left a trail of evidence that led to his arrest Friday on a charge of first degree murder of his wife Lynn Lynette Bush in December 1990, according to an affidavit filed with Natrona County Circuit Court.
On the other hand, Lynn Bush left no trail at all indicating she disappeared and resurfaced elsewhere since Dec. 9, 1990, when her husband reported her missing, according to the affidavit written by Casper police detective Kathryn Davison and filed by 7th District Attorney Mike Blonigen with the court on July 31.
Her body has not been found.
However, new DNA technology, a nationwide computer search, a review of old evidence, and recent interviews with witnesses built the case for the murder charge, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit also revealed aspects of the case that had not been made public before, such as David Bush's attempts to electrocute his wife and the disappearance of two body bags from the Wyoming National Guard.
Detective work earlier this year revealed that if Lynn Bush actually disappeared, she never reappeared anywhere; and DNA research closely linked her blood to the probable crime scene in the family's pickup truck.
Davison and other officers conducted a North American search of police contacts, arrest records, driving records or any file on Lynn Bush from December 1990 through the nonprofit NLETS, an computer-based information system.
NLETS found nothing.
Davison also determined that Lynn Bush had no credit history since her reported disappearance, that neither she nor anyone else had used her social security number for credit, and no matches existed for any missing persons or body parts filed with the National Crime Information Center.
While this search yielded nothing, new DNA technology found plenty.
Davison submitted to the Deerfield Beach, Fla.-based DNA Labs International numerous DNA samples: one from David Bush, one from David and Lynn Bush's daughter Misty, samples from Lynn Bush's parents Larry and Gail Knievel, samples from six locations in the 1985 pickup owned by David and Lynn Bush, and one from a vodka bottle found in the Bush residence.
The lab was able to reconstruct Lynn Bush's DNA by a method called "reverse paternity," according to the affidavit.
"By use of both parents and of the child as well as eliminating the portion of the child's DNA attributable by David Bush, a full DNA profile was constructed of Lynn Bush."
The six samples from different locations in the truck were hers, according to the affidavit. "The chance of this same DNA profile randomly occurring are one in 51 quadrillion."
On Sunday, Blonigen said David Bush is at the Natrona County Detention Center and he probably will make his initial appearance in Natrona County Circuit Court today.
Blonigen declined to comment on the case or whether authorities are conducting a new search for Lynn Bush's body, saying that it is an ongoing investigation. "So certainly that (a search) would be part of the ongoing investigation."
He did not know if other counties had affidavits or search warrants, he said.
Bush's arrest ended more than 15 years of detective work that sometimes went dormant, but never cold, he said. "I would never have called it truly closed."
Davison, with the help of other Casper police officers and agents with the Division of Criminal Investigation, pored over the original documents and interviews since the case began, according to her affidavit.
She reviewed the initial report by David Bush on Dec. 9, 1990 -- that his wife was missing as well as their 1985 Ford pickup truck with the license plate 1T-Bush. He said he found the truck, door ajar and the keys on the parking lot of Buttrey's -- now Sav-A-Lot -- on 12th Street.
The police report filed then stated David Bush appeared to act unusually, such as taking care to point out particular items of evidence.
Other reports soon after the disappearance included statements from the families of both David and Lynn Bush who believed that David Bush may have been involved in the disappearance.
Another report from the Police Sgt. Michael McMullin recounted David Bush's nervousness and evasiveness when asked questions, as well as Bush's two versions of events on Dec. 7 and 8.
David Bush admitted to McMullin that he had an affair with a woman only identified as "T.D." and that he was concerned that his wife would leave him.
Bush also said to McMullin, "'I suppose you think I electrocuted her, too,'" according to the affidavit.
Lynn Bush's parents stated in a subsequent interview that their daughter had told them about feeling strong shocks while showering. A search of the crawl space under the Bushs' house in the area of 17th and South McKinley streets found bare wires and clips that could be attached to the plumbing.
The Knievels also said Lynn's daughter -- then 2 years old -- did not want to go with her father on Dec. 9 when he came to pick her up and that he slapped her.
A search warrant executed at the Bush residence and in the pickup yielded a .41-caliber revolver, a vodka bottle in the house with what appeared to be blood on it, and multiple blood samples from the interior of the truck.
Other interviews revealed that David Bush did little to find Lynn Bush, that three different witnesses observed a vehicle with the 1T-Bush license plate driving very fast on Interstate-25 near Kaycee or in Kaycee. The Bush family regularly camped in the Outlaw Canyon area west of Kaycee.
Interviewees said David Bush made comments about having Lynn Bush's body parts in a freezer, speaking of her in a derogatory manner, that he could commit the perfect murder by getting rid of the body and never being caught, that T.T. had moved into the Bush residence and signed Lynn Bush's name to legal documents, and he threatened to kill T.D.
A person who served with Bush in the National Guard said that David Bush had taken some items and two body bags were missing from the unit.
Earlier this year, a DCI agent re-interviewed T.D.
T.D. said David Bush told her he wanted to kill his wife, T.D. told him not to do it, and he told her in a telephone conversation "'it's done'" and "'she's gone'" after Lynn Bush's disappearance.
Wyoming State Penitentiary inmates who knew David Bush were interviewed. Bush had been convicted of crimes unrelated to his wife's disappearance including voter fraud, possession of a fake military ID, and burglary.
These inmates gave similar stories about David Bush's affair, that Lynn Bush had threatened to call law enforcement about items her husband had taken from the National Guard, that he never spoke well of her, that he had killed her and buried her, and that he believed he got away with the crime.
Blonigen knows that prosecuting a murder case without a body will require altering strategies about showing proof of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, he said.
"It's happened in other jurisdictions," he said. "The issues aren't insurmountable."
Reporter Tom Morton can be reached at (307) 266-0592, or at Tom.Morton@casperstartribune.net.
Published on Monday, August 07, 2006.
Last modified on 8/7/2006 at 12:14 am
Info in missing wife case to be released
By The Associated Press
CASPER, Wyo. - Authorities say they will release more information today about evidence that led to a first-degree murder charge against a Cheyenne man in connection with the 1990 disappearance of his wife.
David Bush, 43, of Cheyenne, was arrested at a Rawlins truck stop at 10:45 p.m. Friday. He reported his wife, Lynn Knievel Bush, missing on Dec. 9, 1990.
Initially, the case was handled as a missing-person investigation, but suspicions of homicide arose, according to a news release from the Casper Police Department. New evidence led to charging David Bush with murder, Lt. Rick Laible said Saturday.
Both Laible and Natrona County District Attorney Mike Blonigen said they could not comment on the case because it was under investigation. But Blonigen said a police affidavit will be released today.
Blonigen said he knows of no previous Wyoming murder cases in which prosecution occurred without a body having been found. Prosecution of such cases has taken place elsewhere.
"It will be somewhat different," Blonigen said of prosecutorial work in the Bush case. "It will depend on specific evidence in the case."
Theresa Bush, David Bush's stepmother, said Saturday that Lynn was special to the Bush family. "If he did it, then justice needs to be done," she said.
Larry Knievel, Lynn's father, said he got a call from detectives about 15 minutes after Bush's arrest.
"Well, they just informed me that Dave's on his way to jail," Knievel said. "I wasn't really surprised because I knew it was coming."
Knievel said he believes justice will be served. "I just wish it'd been way, way, way sooner," he said.
Lynn was reported missing by her husband, David Labon Bush, on December 9, 1990. He stated he had last seen her the day before, when she went to the Buttrey's grocery store on 12th and Beverly in Casper, Wyoming. She never returned home. David stated that the next day he found her pickup truck, a 1985 Ford F-150 with vanity license plates reading 1T-Bush, in the parking lot with the door ajar and the keys on the ground. A receipt inside the vehicle showed Lynn had purchased groceries at 5:30 p.m. on December 8.
David stated he did not report his wife missing sooner because he thought she had left of her own volition to get back at him for his marital infedelities. Photographs of David are posted below this case summary.
Lynn's loved ones did not believe David's story, as the couple's toddler was left behind and they did not believe Lynn would abandon her daughter. Lynn's parents fought for and won custody of the child after Lynn's disappearance. David was subsequently charged with several crimes unrelated to his wife's disappearance, including burglary, voter fraud and possession of false identification. Lynn was declared legally dead in 1999.
In August 2006, David was charged with first-degree murder in connection with his wife's disappearance. Authorities stated they had uncovered new evidence which lead to the charges. Among other things, Lynn's blood was found in the family's pickup truck and in a vodka bottle inside David's house. David had allegedly made incriminating statements to others, speaking of having Lynn's body in a freezer and telling cellmates in jail that he had beaten and shot his wife. After Lynn's disappearance, David's girlfriend moved into the Bush home and forged Lynn's name on legal documents. A person who served with David in the National Guard said David had taken several items from the unit, including two body bags, around the time Lynn disappeared.
David maintains his innocence in Lynn's case, but he was convicted of his wife's murder in March 2007, after a ten-day trial. Lynn's remains have not been recovered, but foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.
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