Bridger Ridge Search

(Gallatin County, Mont.)

Sheriff’s Search and Rescue was dispatched Saturday night at 10:45 for an overdue 34 year old Gallatin County Man hiking from Fairy Lake to the M.  He and his father started this morning and were separated when dad decided the hike was more that he could do.  He waited at the M trail head then contacted the Sheriff’s Office.  Sheriff Gootkin stated it is not uncommon for people to underestimate the amount of time and effort that hike can require.  In this case we used a Life Flight Helicopter to search the ridge and had ground searchers ready to start the hike.  Fortunately a Deputy found the man on the Fairy Lake Road and made sure he made it out.  He added that SAR volunteers would rather get an early start and cancel than get the call late and be that much further behind.


Sheriff’s Office Searching for Man involved in Shooting near West Yellowstone

(West Yellowstone, Mont.)

On August 8, at approximately 4:27 pm the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office received a report of people being shot at in the Whiskey Bay area North of West Yellowstone.  The victims reported the suspect pointed the gun at them, then shot multiple rounds from a handgun into the ground.  There are eight agencies with over 40 personnel on scene looking for a white male, late 30’s or early 40’s, last scene driving a silver Toyota pickup with Texas plates and a silver topper.  If you see a vehicle matching this description do not attempt to make contact and call 911 immediately.  This person is considered armed and dangerous.  We do not have the suspect identified at this time but will update everyone as we confirm information.

Sheriff Brian Gootkin

Sheriff’s Search and Rescue looking for Bozeman Man

(West Yellowstone, Mont.)  Searchers from Sheriff’s SAR have been looking for 69 year old David Cole of Bozeman since Saturday evening.  He was last reported in the area of Tepee Creek,10 miles north of West Yellowstone.  Searchers found his vehicle stuck and running on the Tepee Cr. Road.  Cole could be wearing a blue/black plaid shirt and jeans and suffers from dementia.  Saturday night volunteers searched the area on foot and ATVs.  Helicopters from Life Flight Network and Two Bear Air from the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office also worked until early in Sunday morning.  Sunday 4 dog teams were in the area with foot searchers standing by.  It is possible that Mr. Cole could have abandoned his car and walked out to the highway and was given a ride.  Anyone with information can contact the West Yellowstone Police Department at 406-646-7600.

David Cole

Sheriff/Coroner Identifies man who died in Big Sky

May 18, 2020

On Tuesday May 12, 2020, at 11:15AM, 68 year old Big Sky resident David Green was found deceased inside his garage. 

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office along with the Chief Deputy Coroner are currently investigating the death. During the investigation Sean Patrick Murphy was arrested for Misdemeanor Obstructing a Peace Officer and has since posted bond.  The Medical Examiner’s office conducted an autopsy and we are awaiting their report.

We have been asked if there is a concern for the public’s safety, which there is not.  If there was concern that would be our first priority.

The family of Mr. Green requests that they be allowed to grieve their loss in peace and not be bothered during this difficult time.

Construction Trailer Theft and Arrest

(Gallatin County, Mont.)

At 7:15 Thursday morning, September 19, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a stolen cargo trailer. Employees of a local building company reported that they had arrived at their work site on Cushing Drive to find that the trailer they use to store their tools was missing. The owners of the trailer turned to social media for help, posting photos and a description of the stolen vehicle on several of Facebook’s local marketplace pages.

Shortly after 2:00 p.m. the reporting party again contacted GCSO. A member of the Clarkston community had told him that his trailer was on Missouri View Lane and they had taken photographs of it. Deputies were notified and responded to the area.

The stolen trailer was located approximately 300 yards from where it had first been seen. But that was not all that deputies found in the area: a second trailer, half spray-painted silver, was stashed behind a tree nearby. The trailer had been reported stolen out of Manhattan the previous evening. Both trailers were secured and returned to their owners. Antonio Urbay, 51, was arrested and charged with felony theft.

Several items have been secured following the execution of a search warrant on a residence and additional warrants are being applied for. The search continues for the construction tools missing from the construction trailer. If you have any information regarding the tools, please call the Sheriff’s Office at (406) 582-2100.

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the observant members of the Clarkston community who helped in locating the stolen trailers.  #####


Weather Strands Hiker on Bridger Ridge

(Gallatin County, Mont.) Saturday afternoon at 3:47, Gallatin County 911 received a call from a 45-year-old runner from Atlanta.  The runner had started at the Fairy Lake Trailhead with the ambition of running the Ridge trail but found himself disoriented and unsure of his location. He was wearing shorts and did not have a rain coat with him. His call to 911 put his location south of Naya-Nuki Peak.  Sheriff’s Search and Rescue members spoke with him on the phone and determined he was on the east side of the ridge line.  Search and Rescue personnel battled torrential downpours and were able to locate the runner.  He was given warm clothes and was able to hike out under his own power.  Once back to the trailhead the runner told the Deputy that “The professionalism and kindness of this team is amazing.  They encouraged me and really made me laugh on the way out.”  He had taken an Uber to the trailhead so a Deputy gave him a ride back to Bozeman.
Sheriff Gookin says, “It is not unusual for people to underestimate how quickly the weather can change in the back-country.  Always carry a way to stay warm and dry.”  A summer storm can arrive at any time in the mountains of Montana without much warning.
Photos courtesy of the Sheriff’s Office

Summer Dehydration on Bridger Ridge

(Gallatin County, Mont.)  Thursday evening at 7:00 911 received a call from a 23 year old mountain biker worried about being dehydrated and thought he might pass out.  The 911 center was not able to pin point his location but knew he was near Sacajawea Peak.  Search and Rescue volunteers were able to contact him by phone and have him use a link sent to his phone to get a better location which turned out to be on the west side of the Bridgers below Sacajawea.  Rescuers hiked up the trail from the Fairy Lake Trailhead to meet up with the biker who was being assisted by two hikers he encountered after the call to 911.  He was severely dehydrated but was able to continue down the trail on his own power.  Search and Rescue personal drove the victim’s vehicle back to Bozeman for him because he did not feel capable of driving.

Sheriff Gookin says,”It is not unusual for people to underestimate the amount of water needed for hiking or biking the Ridge area this time of year.”  Seasoned locals know the dry air, elevation and lack of shade up there requires much more water than you might normally take.  Everyone needs to carry enough provisions for the adventure you are seeking and to remember this is the season of hot temperatures.  He was also like to remind everyone to call for help early before the situation gets dire.