Frank Dryman

Montana State Prison inmate Frank Dryman died on Monday at the Lewistown Infirmary in Lewistown. He was 86 years old and died of natural causes, according to the Montana Department of Corrections.

Dryman, at 19 years old, was hitchhiking near Shelby on April 4, 1951, in a blizzard when Clarence Pellett stopped to pick up the drifter from California. Pellet didn’t know his passenger was carrying a gun.

Dryman, who later admitted killing Pellett, took his victim’s car and drove into Canada where he was arrested by police.

After being convicted of murder, Dryman was sentenced in 1955 to life in Montana State Prison. He was paroled in 1969 and then disappeared in March 1972.

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Dryman was arrested by a Pinal County Sheriff’s detective in Arizona in 2010. He had been operating a wedding chapel and notary business in Arizona City under the alias Victor Houston.

Dryman was tracked down by a private investigator hired by Pellett’s grandson, Clem, an oral surgeon who lives in Washington.

MTN contacted Clem on Tuesday and he provided the following statement: “This closes a painful chapter in the Pellett family story.  I have faith that he has passed on to reap the just reward he earned in this life.”

Clem is spearheading a major motion picture about the Montana murder.

The story focuses on Clem and his grandfather, Clarence’s murder, and tells the story of how Clem found Dryman almost four decades after he disappeared.

Over the last year, producers have been in Montana for preproduction on the project.

MTN’s David Sherman