Posted: Oct 5, 2012 7:12 AM by Melissa Anderson - MTN News
Updated: Oct 5, 2012 7:40 AM
HELENA- A joint investigation by the Lewis & Clark County and the Powell County sheriff's departments is hoping to solve a murder case.
A human skull found last week on the west side of MacDonald Pass have authorities searching for answers and suspects.
The Powell County Sheriff's office received a call from a couple at around 6>45 p.m. on Sept. 25 who had stopped by the side of the road near the Mullan Pass historic site to exercise their dogs.
"While they were in that area their dogs were acting very strange and led them to what later on was determined to be human remains," Powell County Sheriff Scott Howard said.
The human skull and other remains were found about 100 yards from the site by the dogs. The remains were taken to the State Crime Lab in Missoula for positive identification, which could take several weeks.
The remains of John Mike Crites were found just a few miles down the road in Lewis & Clark County by Forest Service personnel on Oct.5, 2011. It took until January to positively identify the remains because there was a crucial piece of evidence missing: the skull.
Although Sheriff Leo Dutton can't say that this recent find is that of Mike Crites, he didn't rule it out.
"The fact that it was this far off the road, there's a similarity there, so it's a good possibility, but there's no concrete evidence to say that there is."
Sheriff Howard said there are currently no active murder investigations or missing persons in his county. And while a pair of legs were found near Butte in late June, Howard said he believes there are two separate victims.
Search warrants were issued on Wednesday for two neighbors of Crites living on Turk Road.
Sheriff Dutton says the murder investigation continues to search for answers.
"We're working feverishly, there's a lot of activity going on that just because it's an active investigation we can't tell you," said Dutton.
Mike Crites' sister Connie traveled to Montana from Colorado in September, asking for prayers in leading to the justice in the case of her brother's death. At the time, Connie said, "Not only do we want justice for Mike, there's some scary people that are still free right, now so I would like people to pray. Pray for justice."
Both sheriffs said they want to erase any fear of threats to society at this point.