HELENA — Two Helena area men have been charged in connection with a body found in the Rimini area last Friday.
Robert Harvel, 32, is facing the charges of deliberate homicide, or in the alternative deliberate homicide by accountability. Brandon Michael Beckman, 36, is also facing the charges of deliberate homicide, or in the alternative deliberate homicide by accountability.
Lewis and Clark County Dispatch received a call from a snowmobiler around 3:00 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 14. The caller said they were near Moose Creek Campground and had found what they believed to be human remains.
Once deputies arrived on the scene, they confirmed the discovery of human remains and locked down the area for investigation.
Tuesday afternoon, Lewis and Clark County Sheriff/Coroner Leo Dutton identified the victim as 39-year-old Michael Anthony Biggs.
Court documents say detectives believed Biggs had suffered a gunshot wound to the back of the head. The official manner of death is being determined by the Missoula Crime Lab.
Dutton said the community played a huge role in helping law enforcement identify and locate Beckman and Harvel and wants to thank everyone that reached out with information.
During the course of the investigation, detectives received a tip from an individual who had been in the area the day prior and helped two men who had become stuck in the snow. The witness told investigators that the two men seemed nervous and left the area quickly once their car was unstuck.
A second search of the area Saturday turned up a cell phone that allowed detectives to contact individuals who knew Biggs and recreate his movements over the previous days.
They determined that Biggs had cashed a check in Great Falls earlier in the week and was gambling with Beckman at two East Helena casinos on the afternoon of January 12. Court records say Harvel and Beckman matched the description of one of the men who had become stuck up in the Rimini area.
During initial questioning, Beckman admitted to being in the Rimini area near where the body was found, but denied having anything to do with the death.
However, when detectives questioned Harvel he allegedly told investigators that Beckman had ordered him to drive himself and the victim to the Rimini area to reportedly to pick up methamphetamine but instead shot the victim and took his money.
Justice of the Peace Michael Swingley set bond at $75,000 for both men. They are due back in District Court on February 3 where they will enter a plea.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article had misrepresented the alleged roles of the defendants, unintentionally swapping the names.