HELENA – The Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office is 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.
According to Sheriff Leo Dutton, the victim’s car, a rented Ford Mustang, was found near a trailhead on August 20th.
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 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 has since undergone multiple surgeries for internal injuries.
The victim, who is in his forties and from Great Falls, isn’t talking to investigators, according to Sheriff Dutton.
However, they do suspect foul play, and 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 Dutton.
Sheriff Dutton says investigators found a cell phone and are trying to track down a man they believe was with the victim.
They’re also working with the FBI violent crime task force.
If you have any information that could help, call the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office at 447-8293.
The case agent is Detective Mike Hayes.
Reporting by Evelyn Schultz for MTN News