SUPERIOR - We have continuing coverage on a case that started last July.
Mineral County Sheriff Mike Toth confirmed on Thursday that body of Rebekah Barsotti — who went missing near Superior almost one year ago — has been recovered from the Clark Fork River.
Her disappearance caused dozens of searches in Mineral County, both by family and the authorities. Fishermen found a body on the bank of the Clark Fork River on May 17 and now using dental records, the Montana State Crime Lab confirmed that person to be Barsotti.
The 33-year-old was last seen on July 20, 2021, at the Town Pump in Superior. She was reported missing the next day, which resulted in extensive searches by several agencies and Two Bear Air. Barsotti's vehicle and some personal items were located along Interstate 90 by the Clark Fork River near Alberton.
More than 2,000 hours were dedicated to looking for Barsotti, but Mineral County Sheriff Mike Toth says his department has received criticism for its handling of the investigation. He’s confident in the search effort from his deputies and told MTN News that now, it’s time to offer the family some closure.
“We felt good that we're gonna be able to notify the family so they know she still wasn't missing, and they could put some closer to where Rebekah was,” Sheriff Toth said. “And we gave them our heartfelt sympathy that this is her. But at least now their daughter's back and Dave's wife's back...and they know where she is now.”
The cause of death and circumstances surrounding Barsotti‘s death are still being investigated. But Sheriff Toth says the State Crime Lab found no signs of gunshot or stab wounds. Sheriff Toth told MTN News that he hopes to receive more answers from the State Crime Lab, although he doesn’t know when that will be.
The below statement was posted on the Find Rebekah Barsotti Facebook page following Thursday's announcement:
Four seasons passed before yesterday’s news broke, the body found on May 17 is the body of our Rebekah. This is such bittersweet news for all of us. While I am filled with overwhelming sadness, I am also relieved Angie, Gerry, Ralph Rebekah’s Dad, Tony, and the rest of our family can feel a sense of relief and closure. The unknown was horrendous torture for all of us but especially for Angie. I’ve said so many times, no mother should have to do the things Angie had to do in her search for her daughter, Rebekah. She did it all with admirable strength, dignity, and grace.
Rebekah was an amazing young lady. I will always remember her for being strong willed and determined. She walked to the beat of her own drum, always happy; she embraced a love for life with such a free spirit. Yesterday, prayers were answered. We can take comfort in knowing Rebekah is safe, free from pain and suffering. Thank you to everyone here for your support and kind words of condolence. Rebekah deserved so much more from this life.
Angie and Gerry will need time to process their grief. I am not sure what will come next, but I want to think of today as a new beginning. Rebekah’s legacy will continue to unfold before us.
We Love you Rebekah.
“Only a moment you stayed, but what an imprint your footprints have left on our hearts.”