MISSOULA — UPDATE: 4/16/20, 5 PM: The Montana Department of Corrections sent a statement to KPAX on Thursday in response to allegations against a Missoula probationer. The allegations come from a family member of the man who allegedly committed assaults on Mount Sentinel last week. The family says they made numerous concerned phone calls to Missoula Probation and Parole before the assaults, and that the phone calls were partially ignored by authorities.
The statement reads:
"The Montana Department of Corrections is deeply saddened by recent events in Missoula allegedly involving a DOC probationer. Unfortunately, incomplete information related to the DOC’s involvement in the case is being circulated in the community, and due to privacy considerations, we are unable to clarify many of those points. We do want to emphasize our probation and parole staff are extremely dedicated to ensuring public safety in the communities in which they serve while providing the highest level of support possible to the individuals under their supervision. In this case, we can confirm that steps were promptly taken to follow up with the probationer and individuals in the community on concerns brought to the attention of probation and parole staff."
The original story below has been updated to reflect their statement.
The family of the man who is accused of attacking four people on Mount Sentinel last week says they tried many times to warn authorities he might hurt someone.
MTN News spoke to the suspect's brother who says Jared Kuntz could have been stopped.
It's only been a few days since four people were allegedly attacked on a popular hiking trail on Mount Sentinel. But the defendant's brother is already speaking out, saying the assaults could have been avoided.
"The suffering that that poor young boy, that mother, and those two men up there experienced, not to mention the witnesses, is unfathomable and it should have never happened,” Jacob Kuntz said.
Jared Kuntz has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault, assault on a minor, and assault with a weapon for fracturing a woman's skull on the mountain and attacking other hikers with a rock last Friday.
Jacob Kuntz says his brother has long suffered mental illness, addiction issues, and has numerous run-ins with law enforcement.
"The day of the incident, Friday the 10th, my mother fielded another really bizarre and threatening phone call from my brother,” Jacob Kuntz recalled. “She called probation and parole immediately. That was at 12:35 on Friday the 10th."
Authorities were called to Mount Sentinel for the first reports of the attack at around 2:30 p.m. on Friday.
Jacob Kuntz says he has proof he and his mother made numerous phone calls to probation, Missoula police, and the mental hospital in the days leading up to the attacks.
"To my knowledge, no one at any point tried to deter my brother, even though I told them he was willfully violating his probation and was in a state of psychosis and mania,” Jacob Kuntz said.
He recently took to Facebook to express his concerns.
"I just can't take it anymore, our family has suffered. These people have suffered. I was just willing to put it out there in the light, to let people know that our family has suffered silently for so long, and tried to help others in the community, to avoid this to happen to them. In this case, it’s the victims, I haven't slept in three or four days. I'm tired. I'm tired of the broken system."