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Flathead murder investigation continues - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Flathead murder investigation continues

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Three suspects are being sought in what's being called a homicide case. (MTN News photo) Three suspects are being sought in what's being called a homicide case. (MTN News photo)
A man was reported in the Flathead River near the Old Steel Bridge on Wednesday evening. (MTN News photo) A man was reported in the Flathead River near the Old Steel Bridge on Wednesday evening. (MTN News photo)
The man was last seen going under the water on the Flathead River on Wednesday evening. (MTN News photo) The man was last seen going under the water on the Flathead River on Wednesday evening. (MTN News photo)
EVERGREEN -

There's still no sign of a man last seen struggling in the Flathead River Wednesday night near Evergreen.

Flathead County deputies searched until sundown Thursday night to find the man who they believe is a murder victim and they are back on the river again Friday to resume the search. Authorities are also trying to find three people who may be involved in the man's disappearance.

Several witnesses reported seeing the middle-aged man in the Flathead River on Wednesday night near the Old Steel Bridge on Holt Stage Road and called 9-1-1.

"When this call came into us originally it was a little after 7 p.m. and it was a man in distress floating down the river channels. So, of course we mobilized all of our rescue efforts that we normally would," Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry said. "Deputies from the Sheriff's Office and our boats. Flathead Search and Rescue, the Two-Bear helicopter equipped with thermal imaging technology."

Sheriff Curry says witnesses say they saw the man with three other people on the bridge and while crews are still searching for the man's body, based on those witnesses accounts the case is being treated as a homicide.

The problem facing search crew is witnesses say the man entered the water near the bridge. Right now water temperatures in the river are about 41 degrees and the current is moving extremely fast. While authorities are still searching for the man, they don't believe he could have survived overnight."

Authorities don't know who the man is that was seen in the river last night. Sheriff Curry says no one from the Flathead Valley has been reported missing and the three people on the bridge left the scene in an older dark maroon minivan with local plates.

Meanwhile, the search for the man's body continues.

"We will continue our search efforts. Am I confident we will find something right away? No. Certainly,  this is a bad time of year to be in the water. The river is running fast, high, pretty dark and muddy but we will continue the efforts until we have a resolution," Sheriff Curry said.

He added that while the community isn't in danger they do want to hear from anyone who knows the victim or suspects. Sheriff Curry is asking witnesses to call the Sheriff's Office at (406) 758-5600.

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