Detectives are trying to figure out who killed a man found along the banks of the Cowlitz River.
Deputies found the body of 29-year-old Nicholaus "Nick" R. Fickett, of Kelso, WA, inside a tent near a deserted homeless camp in north Kelso on Friday.
The Cowlitz County Sheriff's Department said the death was suspicious and on Sunday determined Fickett had died of multiple stab wounds last Thursday.
Deputies were dispatched to the area Friday after they received a concerned call. When they got to the Cowlitz Gardens area of north Kelso, they found Fickett's body in an unoccupied camp.
"There are some things about the scene that appear quite suspicious," said Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson. "We're being very deliberate in our processing of the scene in order to obtain the best possible evidence."
Residents along the Cowlitz River in Kelso say homeless people frequently travel through the area, often sleeping on the river banks.
"There's a lot of woods and brush down there and you don't know what kind of trouble you're going to get into," said longtime resident Ronald Britt.
This is the first time a homeless person has died in the area, according to deputies.
Two dozen volunteer searchers combed the banks Saturday as a dive team looked for evidence under the water. The team gathered more than 30 pieces of evidence, according to Chief Criminal Deputy Charlie Rosenzweig.
A local shop owner, Elsie Roberts, said she knew the man who died but not his name. She said he had been living in the area for months.
"He'd come in, in the mornings, and use the restroom and freshen up," Roberts said. "I would give him free coffee, maybe something to eat. He never asked. I just liked to be nice."
"The last day I talked to him he seemed happy," Roberts said.
Detectives want to speak to anyone who may have had contact with Fickett last week, especially on Thursday or Friday.
If you have information, call detectives at 360-577-3092. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 360-577-1206.
Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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