HELENA — A New Jersey man missing for decades has been identified as a murder victim, and his case has a connection to Montana.
Ted Kampf left his home in New Jersey in July 1981 to travel to Vancouver, Canada, according to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. The 46-year-old Kampf was in touch with his family up until July 11, 1981. According to NamUs, some of his traveler’s checks were cashed at a bank in British Columbia in July, and on July 27, 1981, a man who identified himself as Kampf and driving Kampf’s truck was involved in a minor vehicle crash in Idaho.
In August 1981, more of Kampf’s other traveler’s checks were cashed in North and South Dakota by someone other than Kampf, according to NamUs. And finally, in October 1981, hunters found his truck at the bottom of a ravine off Flint Creek Pass in Granite County, Montana.
Now, there is a new development in the 40-year-old case.
Remains found in Dawson City, Yukon, Canada in 1983 were identified as belonging to Kampf. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Historic Case Unit and Texas-based Othram, Inc. used DNA to link the remains to Kampf, who was reported missing with the Oaklyn Police Department and New Jersey State Police. The University of North Texas Health Science Center and National DNA Data Bank were able to match DNA from the remains to Kampf.
Along with clues found at the scene, the RCMP said the pathologist who examined the remains found evidence to conclude the case was a homicide.
“Mr. Kampf’s remains were placed in a grave,” RCMP investigator Cst. Michale Simpson wrote in an email to MTN News. Simpson added there was an “an apparent attempt to conceal” the remains.
The RCMP determined Kampf was killed in Dawson City in July 1981, his truck was then driven from Canada to Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota and finally to where it was left in Granite County.
Investigators believe the person who drove Kampf’s truck and left it in Montana has a connection to Montana, and possibly to mining. Simpson said the Dawson City area is known for gold deposits and mining in the early 1980s, and the area Kampf’s truck was found is also known for mining.
RCMP investigators are looking for information on anyone from Montana or the Granite County area who may have gone to Dawson City, possibly to mine in the Yukon or on the way to Alaska. Simpson said this person is considered a person of interest in the case.
“(The person) had been in possession of Kampf’s truck after his passing, and seems to have assumed Kampf’s identity for a period of time,” Simpson wrote.
At the time of his death, Kampf was described as a 46-year-old white man, between 5-feet-9-inches and 5-feet-10-inches tall, and weighing between 180- and 190-pounds. He was driving a 1980 brick-colored Chevrolet pickup truck with New Jersey plates. The truck was found at the bottom of a ravine just off of Flint Creek Pass in Granite County.
Any one with information is asked to call the Yukon RCMP Historical Case Unit at 867-667-5500, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
***Editorial note 12/09/2021 4:30 p.m.: this story has been updated to include additional details from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police***