New clues in Missing Skier search

Sheriff Media HeaderBIG SKY-  Search and rescue efforts to find a skier missing since early March continued Thursday and Friday on Lone Peak.  A ski pole that may have belonged to the missing skier, Brad Gardner, was found Wednesday afternoon in the Lone Lake Cirque.  Initial searches of the area were hampered by continuous bad weather, its remote location, and the dangerous conditions caused by the characteristics of the cirque.  The area is surrounded by nearly vertical cliff walls and the avalanche danger remained extreme during the time of the initial search.  

Ground teams accessed the area Thursday morning and searched the cirque with dogs and a RECCO unit.  The RECCO unit is designed to help find people buried in avalanches.  The searchers found the cirque floor still buried in very deep snow.  Searches probed the snow with nine foot long poles and were unable to find the bottom.  The snow was also extremely hard, heavy, and compact.  Searchers located another ski pole about half way up a cliff face but were unable to but were not able to access the location without using ropes.  Searchers were unable to locate any further signs of Gardner.

A search of the cirque was conducted from the air on Friday morning.  A U.S. Forest Service helicopter with Gallatin County Search and Rescue personnel aboard spent over an hour and a half combing the cliffs and areas not covered in snow inside the cirque.  They were able to get close enough to identify and photograph the ski pole on the cliff face.  The pole was also similar to the poles Gardner is thought to have been skiing with when he disappeared.  

Searchers are optimistic that the warm weather forecast for the next week will help melt the abundant snow still in the cirque.  Searches will continue in the cirque and elsewhere over the coming weeks as conditions and new information changes. 

The Sheriff’s office would like to caution citizens that the terrain in the cirque is treacherous.  Along with the dangers inherent in a remote, snow covered area, search teams have already had to deal with a steady barrage of rocks falling from the cirque walls.  The Sheriff’s office does not wish to see a well meaning effort result in another rescue.  “Safety is our primary concern now.  We want to bring Mr. Gardner home as safely and as soon as possible.  And we’ll do that, without putting anyone at undue risk.” said Lt. Jason Jarrett of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, adding “While our searchers train for dangerous situations, most citizens don’t.  We are hoping to prevent any further injury or even another death.”

 “Once we locate Mr. Gardner we are required by law to secure the scene, treat it with respect and care and conduct an investigation to try and determine cause of death, “ continued Jarrett,”  If the scene is compromised by well-meaning individuals, we may not be able to determine cause of death.  We need to know that…for the sake of the family, the community and to fulfill our requirements under the law.


Madison River Rescue

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On Sunday, July 07, 2011, at approximately 8:45 pm, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Search and Rescue, and the Three Forks Marshalls responded to a water rescue on the Madison River.  An inflatable kayak struck a partially submerged cottonwood tree in the water and capsized upstream from the cobblestone fishing access ejecting the two female passengers.  The females were reported in the water and pinned to the tree.  The women were able to free themselves from the tree and get out of the water on the west bank of the River.  With help of local land owners and Deputies the females were located and extracted by vehicle from the west side of the river.  There were no reported injuries from this incident.   

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind boaters to not take the proper safety equipment including throw bags, life vests and first aid kits when enjoying the river.  As always don’t underestimate the power of the current.  Even and simple and familiar trip on the river can turn dangerous without the proper equipment, respect for the water and knowledge of the potential hazards. 


Monument Meadow Rescue

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(West Yellowstone, Montana)  Excellent inter-agency cooperation resulted in a back-country rescue involving an injured horseback rider this afternoon just outside of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness.


          Shortly before 2:00 o’clock this afternoon Gallatin County 9-1-1 received a call from the manager of the Covered Wagon Ranch, north of West Yellowstone in the Gallatin Canyon.


          A 64-year old female guest of the ranch from Hawaii on a guided horseback ride had fallen from her horse suffering head injuries.  The wrangler on the ride, in contact with the ranch by radio, reported the incident. 


The party was located near Monument Mountain, an approximately three to three and a half hour ride from the trail-head.


          A six-member horse and rider team from Search and Rescue staged at the Sage Creek Trailhead for a rescue.  Since there were no LifeFlight or other Helicopters available in the entire region, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Deputies enlisted the help of a U.S. Forest Service Helicopter in Cody, Wyoming.  A U.S. Park Service Ranger who is also a paramedic and member of Gallatin County SAR was picked up at the West Yellowstone Airport by the chopper to care for the patient.


          The patient, complaining of head and back pain, was picked up at the Monument Meadow area at just after 5:30 this afternoon and flown to the Sage Creek Trailhead. From there the patient was taken by Big Sky Fire Dept. ambulance to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital at just before 6:00 this afternoon.


          “Thanks to the Forest Service chopper and the Park Service paramedic, we were able to avoid a long all-night rescue,” said GCSO Deputy Mark Murphy, Incident Commander on the rescue.  “It would have been a difficult, long and very uncomfortable ride out for the patient.  Instead, she’s getting the care she needs in Bozeman.”


          Deputy Murphy says radio communication also played a key role in today’s wilderness rescue.


          Those traveling in the Montana back-country, even for an afternoon, are advised to carry some form of communication, such as a radio or a satellite phone.      



Lone Mountain Search Continues

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July 10, 2011

The search for the missing skier continued this last weekend utilizing K-9 search teams from around the region.  A total of ten K-9 teams were brought in to assist in the search from Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah.  Over 40 volunteers of the Gallatin and Madison County Sheriff Offices Search and Rescue searched for two days in an attempt to locate the Big Sky skier.

24 year old Brad Gardner was last seen on Wednesday, March 9 when he told friends that he was planning to ski solo in the Chippewa Ridge area of Lone Mountain.  An intense search involving air and ground resources from Gallatin and Madison County’s Search and Rescue teams combed the area but failed to turn up any evidence of Mr. Gardner’s whereabouts.

The search was suspended on March 28 due to conditions.  Snow had continued to accumulate in early spring storms.  Many areas could not be searched and still allow for the safety of the search teams.

Since that time, some air and ground searches on a limited basis were conducted.  Conditions on the mountain have made searching difficult with the heavy snow Montana has experienced over the last winter.

“The search this weekend was designed to add the expertise of the dog teams to enhance search capabilities.  Unfortunately, the search teams were not able to uncover additional information on Mr. Gardner,” stated Incident Commander Deputy Ian Parker.

The search has been able to cover large areas but still more remains to be checked.  The search will continue into the future and expand into other areas.  “We intend to continue the search until Brad is found.  We will not give up in order to bring closure to the family,” stated Gallatin County Sheriff Jim Cashell.

Madison County Sheriff Dave Schenk echoed this sentiment. “We have a mission to find Brad and we are certain with the quality of the searchers involved, we will.”

Members from both the Gallatin and Madison County Sheriff’s Offices wish to express their appreciation to the K-9 search teams, the Gallatin and Madison County search and rescue teams, the Big Sky Resort, Yellowstone Club and the many Big Sky area businesses who have been extremely supportive of the search efforts.

Memorial Day Mobilization Enforcement Plan

Sheriff Media HeaderThe Bozeman Police Department and the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office are combining their traffic enforcement efforts to focus on Impaired Driving and Occupant Protection. With support from the Select Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) grant, the Bozeman Police Department and Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office will increase traffic enforcement during peak times of alcohol related offenses and crashes . This extra patrol mobilization begins May 23rd and extends through June 5th.
If you have any questions please contact Lt. Dave McManis at of the Bozeman Police Department at 582-2022 or Lt. Shane Frantz of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office at 582-2120

Sheriff’s K-9 retirement

Sheriff Media HeaderFor Immediate Release
May 10, 2011

On May 10, 2011 Sandra Feeney, Jeff and Tyler Cotterell representing the Bozeman Lion’s Club were recognized for their support of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit during a retirement ceremony for “Noe,”(pronounced Noey) one of the Sheriff’s Office’s police dogs. Gallatin County Sheriff, Jim Cashell, presented K-9 unit handler, Deputy Don Peterson with a plaque in honor of his and Noe’s contributions to the Sheriff’s Office and the citizens of Gallatin County.

Nine years ago, the Bozeman Lion’s Club donated $7,000 to purchase and train Noe in continued support of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office K-9 program. The Bozeman Lion’s Club has supported the purchase other law enforcement K-9s over the past two decades.

Inmates moved to new Detention Center

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(Bozeman) – The Gallatin County Detention Center opened for business last week with the transfer of 76  inmates to the new facility.

Under tight security, heavy snow and bad roads inmates were moved from the old jail and the Broadwater County Jail into the new Detention Center.

The transfer was complete early Friday morning.

The inmates were searched, issued new identification, new uniforms and placed in the new housing pods said Detention Center Commander Lieutenant Dan Springer.

“Everything worked as expected, the worst issue was a laminating machine that broke. We are excited for the challenges ahead of us and we thank the community for their support throughout this process,” said Springer.

“This has been the product of a lot of hard work by staff with the support of elected officials and the public,” said Gallatin County Sheriff Jim Cashell.  “We have been working toward this for many years.”

County Commissioner Steve White stated he was impressed by the planning and execution of the move.  “It went smoothly and according to schedule.  This is a great improvement for Gallatin County, the safety of the inmates and employees.  It was also on time and on budget.” said Commissioner White. ###

Video Courtesy: Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.