NewsCrime and Courts


Butte law enforcement ID's human remains in 2012 homicide investigation

Screen Shot 2023-08-14 at 4.26.59 PM.png
Posted at 9:39 AM, Aug 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-15 11:39:03-04

BUTTE - Human remains found on June 26, 2012, on the side of the Moulton Reservoir Road north of Butte have been identified.

A homicide investigation is ongoing.

According to a Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement press release, through DNA testing, officials identified the human remains from 2012 as 46-year-old Michael Wayne Canada.

Officers responded to the scene on June 26, 2012, and discovered two human legs inside of a bag.

Detectives reportedly believe that the victim died at another location before being left near Moulton Reservoir Road.

The remains were in the beginning stages of decomposition and investigators were able to determine the legs belonged to a white male, according to the release.

In 2013, the case was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. However, the man’s identity remained a mystery.

The Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement Department partnered with the Montana Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to help identify the man.

The agencies then decided to attempt forensic genetic genealogy to generate new leads in the case.

Genetic genealogy led to law enforcement connecting with possible relatives of the victim and later determining the identity of the victim.

Canada was reportedly a drifter who had not been in touch with his family for at least two years prior to his death.

He was never reported as a missing person.

Officials believe Canada was living in Butte for a short time prior to his death and may have been employed at one of the local Safeway stores.

Canada was 6’2”, weighing 185 pounds. He had brown hair and blue eyes. Canada also had a metal rod placed into his leg from a previous motorcycle accident.

Below is a photo of Canada taken in 2007:

Anyone with information about the circumstances surrounding the death of Michael Wayne Canada is asked to contact DCI agent Ryan Eamon at 406-444-3874 or the Butte Field Office at 406-691-7108 or Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement Captain Jeff Williams at 406-497-1157 or Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement Dispatch at 406-497-1120.