PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Court documents revealed the potential motive behind the killing of Vancouver teen Nikki Kuhnhausen, as the man suspected of murdering her made his first court appearance on Wednesday morning.
Nikki, a 17-year-old transgender teen, had not contacted her family since June 5, according to the Vancouver Police Department. Nikki’s friends told detectives she had been staying with a friend on the night of June 5 but had left to meet a man who was later identified as David Bogdanov.
Nikki reportedly returned to her friend’s house shortly before 5 a.m. the next morning holding a bottle of vodka and wearing a man’s coat which was determined to be Bogdanov’s. She told her friends that she had been out with “an older Russian” man. The investigation revealed Nikki used one of her friend’s cell phones to message Bogdanov via Snapchat, with the last exchange coming shortly after 5:30 a.m.
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Nikki then left the house, telling her friends she was going to meet up with the suspect once again.
According to court documents, detectives interviewed Bogdanov in October after some trouble tracking him down. Bogdanov reportedly told detectives he had first encountered Nikki in downtown Vancouver while out with his brother. He said he met up with her for a second time later that night after giving her the address of where he was staying.
Bogdanov allegedly picked Nikki up in a white van and drove to his brother’s house. He told detectives that while outside the house, he and Nikki were “chit-chatting” and she told Bogdanov she was biologically male.
The suspect said he was “shocked,” “uncomfortable” and “really, really disturbed.” Court documents show that Bogdanov said that “homosexuality is unacceptable in Russian culture.” He then told detectives he asked Nikki to exit the van and leave. He said she walked away and he never saw her again.
Bogdanov said he went to work in Portland immediately after Nikki walked away from the van — yet, his cell phone records revealed he actually drove out to the area of Larch Mountain and returned to his brother’s house about an hour and 25 minutes later.
A citizen found a human skull on Dec. 7 in the Larch Mountain woods. A forensic analysis confirmed the skull, along with additional remains, belonged to Nikki.
Clark County Medical Examiner Dr. Burt ruled Nikki’s death a homicide by asphyxiation.
Bogdanov was arrested on Tuesday and booked into the Clark County Jail on a charge of 2nd-degree murder. Vancouver Police are expected to hold a press conference shortly after the court appearance on Wednesday morning.