TOOELE -- The body of a woman found dead in a bathtub will be exhumed as part of a homicide investigation.

Nicole Speirs's boyfriend, Iraq war veteran Walter Smith, was charged in December with murder, nearly nine months after her death.

A Tooele County prosecutor, Gary Searle, requested the exhumation. He said he wants to know if the physical evidence matches Smith's story.

He was charged after telling a family member, "I did it," while visiting a Veterans Affairs medical center in Salt Lake City, police said.

Speirs, 22, apparently drowned in the bathtub of the couple's Tooele home. At the time, it was not known whether her death was an accident or a homicide. Smith, 26, initially told police he was in Idaho with the couple's two children.

"If we don't exhume her we won't know," Searle said. "It's important to know everything before convicting someone of murder and sending them to prison for 15 to life."

Defense attorney Matthew Jube said the case still is in "preliminary stages." "We're still uncovering facts," he said.

This story appeared in The Daily Herald on page C3.

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