An Idaho man accused of killing an elderly man has been charged with cannibalism and allegedly said he believed he could “heal himself” by eating parts of his victim’s body, court documents revealed.

The supplemental probable cause affidavit regarding the case revealed that James David Russell, 39, believed he could “heal himself by cutting off portions of flesh” so he could “cure his brain,” the Bonners Ferry Herald reported.

Russell, from Oldtown, Idaho, was initially charged with first-degree murder in the Sept. 10 death of 70-year-old David Flaget but Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall filed an amended criminal complaint last week adding cannibalism to the charges against Russell.

Flaget was found unresponsive and upside down in the passenger’s seat of his truck, which was parked outside Russell’s home. Russell was later apprehended after initially fleeing law enforcement and engaging in a brief standoff.

Recently released court documents further revealed that some of Flaget’s remains were missing when the victim’s body was found, New York Post reported. Authorities also revealed that evidence showed a clean-up kit was used to supposedly dispose of evidence.

Authorities allegedly found pieces of Flaget’s body in Russell’s residence after the murder, including a “thermal artifact,” which is an observational finding indicating that heat was applied to only specific parts of the victim’s remains instead of the entire body.

Dr. Veena Singh of the Spokane Medical Examiner’s Office noted in the autopsy findings that the body tissues recovered from Russell’s residence indeed belonged to Flaget, according to the Bonners Ferry Herald report.

Bonner County Detective Phillip Stella said, “as far as I know this is the first cannibalism charge in Idaho.”

Authorities also retrieved a glass bowl, a bloodied knife, and a bloodied microwave while searching around Russell’s residence. Russell is scheduled for a review hearing on Dec. 28 after court proceedings were stalled in October when a judge ordered that the suspect be placed under mental evaluation.

Cannibalism was supposedly banned in Idaho three decades ago, but a 2019 report by Associated Press unraveled an odd law under Idaho Statutes that seemed to allow for cannibalism if it remains the only apparent means of survival. Cannibalism in Idaho is punishable by up to 14 years behind bars.

Cannibal Case
Accused in the South Africa cannibal case get life sentence. In this representational picture: The display at the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center where 8,000 human skulls sit in a glass case July 26, 2010 in Phnom Penh province. Getty Images/Paula Bronstein