Search for the missing man....
By Jess ArmstrongTuesday Jul. 5th, 2011 - 4:25pm
The Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office and Search and Rescue are looking for a local man who disappeared last week.
John Michael Crites, also known as Mike, has been missing since Sunday, June 26th. He was last seen by a neighbor the day before. Sheriff Leo Dutton said Mike was supposed to meet with another person on Sunday morning to discuss a land dispute, but never showed. Crites' neighbors reported him missing one week ago. On Thursday, Search and Rescue teams flew over his 80 acres of land. Sherriff Dutton says the bolt on the gate to Crites' property had been sawed off and his front door was open and unlocked.
Crites' dogs were also loose on the property and neighbors say he never leaves them unattended. Sheriff's officers went back to the property Tuesday to search for evidence. They are not ruling out the possibility of a homicide. Members of Crites' family are also there. They say Crites left his wallet and personal belongings and his car was still at his house.
We'll have more on the story as it develops.
Story by Jess Armstrong, Beartooth NBC.
Copyright ©2011 Beartooth Communications Company. All Rights Reserved.
Authorities Search for Missing Man: "Suspicious" Disappearance
By Kacey Drescher
Story Created: Jul 6, 2011 at 6:07 PM MDT
Lewis and Clark County officials are searching for a missing man, calling the circumstances surrounding his disappearance “suspicious.”
"We're not ruling out foul play because there are still some things that are suspicious, number one that there was criminal mischief to a gate that would indicate the possibility of foul play, the fact that he's gone all his personal effects are still there indicates the possibility of foul play,” says Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton.
Dutton says John Michael Crites, who goes by “Mike”, was last heard from on June 25 and was reported missing by a neighbor the next day. His vehicle, wallet and cell phone were located at his house, the door to his house was open and his dogs were running loose.
Crites is described as an avid outdoorsman, known to take off for days at a time but officials did not spot him in a flight over his 80 acres of land. Dog teams have been combing the area and authorities met with his family yesterday.
The 48-year-old is described as being as 5'10", about 185 pounds, with brown hair, brown eyes, and a brown beard.
Remains found in trash bag a year or less old
October 08, 2011 9:02 am• By EVE BYRON Independent Record
HELENA — Black plastic trash bags found near MacDonald Pass earlier this week contained the bones of an adult male, and the bones probably were out there for less than a year, according to Lewis and Clark County Coroner Mickey Nelson.
"It's clearly a homicide, in my opinion as well as the sheriff's," Nelson said Friday. "The age of the man, when they were put there and all that, I really don't have. We'll have to sort those things out.
"But I believe the bones have been out there for probably not over one year or so, probably less, and it's not an old, unsolved case from 12 or 15 years ago. It's relatively recent."
Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said they received a call from a Forest Service employee at about 1 p.m. Wednesday reporting that during a routine area check, suspicious bags were located about 75 to 100 yards from the highway. The area where the remains were found is off of Highway 12 West near the shooting range, which is on the left side of the road for people driving out of Helena.
A search of the area ended Friday, and the road closure has been lifted, Dutton said.
He said both the city and the county have had reports in the past year of missing people. The highest-profile missing person case is that of John Michael Crites, 48, from near Birdseye. Crites was last seen on June 25; his vehicle, wallet and cellphone were found at his Turk Road home. The door to his residence was open and unlocked.
Officials suspect foul play in his disappearance but have no leads to corroborate that.
Crites has a brown beard, brown hair and brown eyes, weighs about 185 pounds and stands 5 feet, 10 inches tall.
Dutton said while they're looking into the identity of the bones, they're also contacting other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, to learn about any other missing person reports or whether this case is similar to any other cases involving remains found near highways.
"We will explore every avenue," Dutton said. "We owe that due diligence to see if we can get DNA or evidence to rule that in or out. He (Crites) is a possibility, and he is someone local."