MISSOULA — State attorneys have declined to prosecute the dive instructor who was overseeing a class in Glacier National Park when a Missoula teenager drowned last year.
The family of 18-year-old Linnea Mills, who drowned in Lake McDonald, shared court documents stating the United States Attorney District of Montana will not prosecute Mills' diving instructor for criminal endangerment.
The documents state while the instructor was “likely at fault to some extent for Mills' death, we cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she was criminally culpable."
In an interview with authorities, the instructor said she had taught Mills two other times and believed her to be a competent diver.
According to court documents, witness statements and video from the Nov. 1, 2020, incident shed light on Mills' death, but attorneys cannot establish it was the instructor's knowing conduct that caused her death.
Linnea Mills' family released the following statement in reaction to the decision.
"We have grieved the loss of our daughter since the day she left this Earth. Now, we grieve the loss of fairness, justice, and competence in the public officials who are charged with keeping us safe. This is not only a loss for Linnea and our family, but also for the citizens of the State of Montana."
The family's multi-million-dollar civil suit was also filed against the owners of the class, Gull Dive, and the professional diving association that oversees the sport.