HELENA – Authorities are investigating a “mystery” after they haven’t been able to determine what happened to a man found in critical condition in the woods near Lincoln more than two weeks ago.
Lewis and Clark Sheriff Leo Dutton says the victim’s rented car was found near a trailhead on August 20th and four days later, a man walking the gulch with a metal detector heard moaning and discovered the man about two miles away from his car.
Sheriff Dutton says the victim had an electrical cord wrapped around one of his legs and was in critical condition, as he was extremely cold and his body was shutting down.
The man with the metal detector was able to get cell service to call for help and the victim was taken to a hospital in Missoula where he’s undergone multiple surgeries for internal injuries.
The victim, who is in his 40s and from Great Falls, isn’t talking to investigators, according to Sheriff Dutton. However, authorities do suspect foul play and say they will release the man’s name soon.
“If he would have died, we would have had a homicide on our hands, had it not been for the gentleman from Great Falls who was basically prospecting for gold with a metal detector,” said Sheriff Dutton.
Sheriff Dutton says investigators found a cell phone and are trying to track down a man they believe was with the victim. They’ are also working with the FBI violent crime task force.
Anyone with information that could help is asked to contact Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Detective Mike Hayes at (406) 447-8293.
-Evelyn Schultz reporting for MTN News