clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:


The duck hunter who first discovered the bundle near the Bear River marsh containing the decomposed body of 3-month-old Steven Roy James decided to leave it in the water, thinking it was "a litter of cats or dogs that someone wanted to get rid of."

On October 7, 1986, George Blumner was loading hunting decoys into his canoe when he saw a bundle tied with an electrical cord floating in the Valley View Marina. He opened an end of the package, discovering "what appeared to be some fleshy type of material." A rock fell out of the package. Blumner decided to put the strange bundle back in water, he testified.Four days later, another duck hunter, Arthur Flandro found the bundle, containing the dead baby, in the same location.

The infant's father, Steven Ray James, on trial in 3rd District Court for first-degree murder, sat expressionless during testimony of prosecution witnesses Thursday.

Flandro recalled to the jury his reaction to finding the decomposed child.

"I started to move the loose flaps on top of the bundle. . . . I came to realize it was that of human remains," he said.

Immediately, he advised another duck hunter to secure the spot the body was found so dogs would not bother the package. Flandro then hitchhiked to town, contacting the police.

Deputy sheriffs searched the bottom of the marina for body parts, finding three pieces of skull.

Richard Wright testified he examined the bundle at the Bear River site.

The outside layer of the package was a mattress cover tied with an electrical cord. After cutting the wire, Wright observed the contents of the package - "a baby's receiving blanket, a body and stones inside."

The baby was dressed in a blue T-shirt and diaper, he said.

The five stones inside the package weighed a total of 36 pounds, Wright testified.

Defense attorneys contend that the baby's body may not be James' son.

Medical examiners will offer testimony Monday, when the trial resumes, as to the cause of death and identification of the body.

In other testimony Thursday, four witnesses testified they did not see a baby sitting in James' car parked outside of the OSCO drugstore in Logan.

James reported his son missing Aug. 25, l986, saying his son was kidnapped during the 10 minutes he had left the child in the car while shopping.

Barbara Reale's car was parked directly behind James' Cadillac outside the drugstore. She testified that she left the store and passed James' car about the time the alleged kidnapping occurred. "I didn't see anyone in the car," she said.