MISSOULA — It has been a gut-wrenching time for family and friends of Missoula’s Rebekah Barsotti, who was last seen eight days ago as she set off for a hike in Mineral County. While the search continues, her mother is asking the public to help bring her home.
“I need to be here; I need to be here when they find her. As a mom I need to be here, this is where I need to be,” said Angela Mastrovito.
She’s been placing fliers, making phone calls, and, literally, knocking on doors. Mastrovito and her husband first showed up at our studio at 6 a.m. Wednesday with a mission to get the word out and seek help to find her missing daughter.
"I’ve been out here mostly to have a presence if they find my daughter...as it passes, it’s harder,” Mastrovito said.
The 34-year-old Barsotti was last seen July 20 when she went hiking along the Clark Fork River in Mineral County with her dog. Her family reported her missing a day later, and Mastrovito was soon heading to Montana from her home in Virginia.
Barsotti’s vehicle was found at a rest area by mile marker 71 on Interstate 90 and some personal items retrieved on a beach along the river.
Barsotti’s dog Cerberus was found dead about ten miles downstream from where Mineral County Sheriff Mike Toth believes both went into the water. The dog’s remains are being analyzed to determine a cause of death.
The family is extremely grateful for the teams from Mineral and Missoula counties, and others, which have been involved in the search, using watercraft, search dogs, helicopters, and scuba divers.
In addition, Mastrovito says outfitters, guides and fishermen have been involved. But, with government agencies stretched thin, Mastrovito now is asking for additional help from the public.
She says she doesn’t have the skillset or background to put together a search, especially so far from home, and so she is looking for an individual to help her organize a group of volunteers.
“Because it’s their territory. I want to find my daughter,” Mastrovito concluded.
Anyone who is willing and able to organize a search is asked to contact Mastrovito directly at (540) 834-6131 or reach out on her Facebook page.