ELKO — A West Wendover fire captain has been arrested for murder and released on bail after a coroner’s jury found he was responsible for the death of his estranged wife.
Jeremy Loncar, 30, surrendered to police on a warrant charging him with first-degree murder. He posted $100,000 bail and was released Monday from the Elko County Jail.
A coroner’s jury in June ruled that Loncar caused the death of his wife, Anne Marie Loncar, 30, of West Wendover, in January 2006.
Authorities said the couple were divorcing.
Elko Justice of the Peace Al Kacin issued the arrest warrant July 13 but expressed concerns about the charge.
“The court is concerned at this point about whether there is probable cause to believe that the criminal agency of another caused the death of the alleged victim in this case, Anne Marie Loncar,” Kacin stated in the warrant.
The coroner’s jury determination is not a conviction. Loncar will face a preliminary hearing where a justice of the peace will determine whether sufficient evidence exists for the case to proceed to trial.
Kacin said a “no-bail hold” was “inappropriate” because the evidence for murder “appears to be quite difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.” He said Loncar is a longtime county resident and doesn’t appear to be “a danger to the community at large or any particular person.”
Loncar maintains he found his wife dead in bed around 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 8, 2006, at her home in West Wendover, a small community along the Nevada-Utah line.
Elko County District Attorney Gary Woodbury said a pathologist who conducted Loncar’s autopsy, Kathy Raven, originally determined she died of a restrictive airway disease related to asthma.
Loncar had not been diagnosed with asthma, Woodbury said.
The district attorney said the medical examiner, Dr. Ellen Clark, had not excluded suffocation or poisoning as possible causes of death.
Loncar’s attorney, Donald York Evans, disagreed. He said the pathologist ruled out those possibilities and that toxicology results were negative. Evans said there was no physical evidence of asphyxiation and that Clark had signed off on the autopsy report.
Evans said his client was performing CPR on his wife until emergency medical personnel arrived at her home.
Evans has accused Woodbury of “going after” his client for murder without evidence. “All they have is him finding the body, and a divorce,” Evans said.
Woodbury said Loncar collected $108,000 in life insurance after his wife’s death.