Trial for alleged killer of Clark County transgender teen begins

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The trial for a Clark County man accused of murdering a 17-year-old transgender girl and dumping her body near Larch Mountain began Monday.

Jury selection for the case against David Bogdanov, 27, began Aug. 16 in Clark County Superior Court. He faces charges of second-degree murder and malicious mischief in connection to the murder of Nikki Kuhnhausen in June of 2019.

Kuhnhausen’s remains were discovered close to Larch Mountain by a citizen on Dec. 7 of that year. Bogdanov was arrested Dec. 17 following an investigation by police.

Kuhnhausen was initially reported missing by her mother on June 10, and was not seen by her roommates after leaving with a man, who was later identified as Bogdanov, in the early morning hours of June 6.

Bogdanov is alleged to have killed Kuhnhausen after he “became enraged” after learning she was born biologically male. Kuhnhausen left her apartment late on June 5. She returned later with Bogdanov and told her friends that Bogdanov was going to help her get a cellphone before she left with him, according to a probable cause affidavit for his arrest.

Cell phone records and social media data were used by investigators to connect Kuhnhausen and Bogdanov, the Vancouver Police Department reported at the time of Bogdanov’s arrest. He was interviewed in October of 2019.



In the interview, Bogdanov said he met up with Kuhnhausen in downtown Vancouver, the affidavit stated. After heading to Kuhnhausen’s apartment, the two headed to a residence to get the cellphone. While “chit-chatting” after arriving at the residence, Kuhnhausen revealed she was transgender, which Bogdanov said during his interview made him uncomfortable. He said he told Kuhnhausen to get out of his vehicle and she walked away.

Though Bogdanov said he then left for work at a job site in downtown Portland, cell phone records showed otherwise, according to the affidavit. The records showed after leaving the residence he headed to the area of Larch Mountain and Camp Bonneville, before returning to the residence.

After Kuhnhausen’s remains were found and identified, investigators attempted contact with Bogdanov again, though he declined to give any further statements and at that point was arrested, Vancouver Police Lt. Tom Ryan said at a press conference in December 2019.

Bogdanov’s malicious mischief charge stems from prosecutors considering Kuhnhausen’s death as a hate crime.

In 2020, Kuhnhausen’s death was memorialized in the “Nikki Kuhnhausen Act” passed by the Washington State Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee on March 5. The legislation “clarifies that the discovery of a person’s actual or perceived gender, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation provides no justification for physical assault,” according to a release from the Washington state Senate Democrats after the bill’s approval.

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