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Search continues near Red Lodge for missing hiker

Posted at 10:37 AM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 12:37:08-04

RED LODGE — Hiker Tatum Morell is still missing southwest of Red Lodge despite the best efforts of search crews.

Thunderstorms, rain, and heavy winds disrupted the search for Morell on Wednesday evening.

Red Lodge Fire Rescue Chief Tom Kuntz, helicopters had to leave the area while ground crews took cover from the elements until the weather calmed down, allowing them to be picked up via helicopter.

Kuntz says that despite covering the area extensively, they have not made any significant discoveries.

Officials are expanding the search are mainly to the west toward Lake Susanne and Elephant Lake, but also partially to the east.

“This is based somewhat on some additional information, but also based on the assumption that if she got disoriented and lost that she may have moved outside of the search area in order to get coverage from thunderstorms and rain,” says Kuntz.

Morell, a 23-year-old Montana State University graduate student, was reported missing late Monday evening on July 5. She was last heard from July 1 when she messaged her mother.

Looking forward, Red Lodge Fire Rescue will request additional air assistance from the National Guard.

“We are requesting additional resources in terms of trying to get additional aeriel imaging of the search area so that it may allow us to take pictures of things that we may not see while flying in the helicopter,” Kuntz said.

Officials are asking anyone with information on Morell to contact the Carbon County Sheriff's Office at (406) 446-1234.