A little more than a month ago ranchers stumbled across a set of human remains on land they are leasing in Dunn County, ND.
They belonged to a Montana woman who had been missing for nearly a year, and investigators are still searching for some answers as to what happened to her.
On September 3, 2018 around 1 p.m. the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department was called to investigate what looked like to be the remains of a dead body.
“The remains were laying on the ground flat. They weren’t in a hole or anything. They were just laying there,” said John Vetsch, Deputy with Dunn County Sheriff’s Department.
Timothy Sul, who is the lead investigator on the case for the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department said, “There were no obvious signs of foul play” ,and the remains were in a stage of “extreme decomposition and skeletal”.
The ND State Medical Examiner in Bismarck identified the remains as 55 year-old Darlene Billie of the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana who had been reported missing since the Fall of 2017.
A family member of Billie said the last time she saw her she was traveling to visit her boyfriend along the Montana/North Dakota border.
“Right now were are still developing leads, working with the Mackenzie County Sheriff’s Department, FBI and the Flathead Tribal Police, ” said Sul
Investigators are still puzzled as to why her remains were located where they were, because they were located about three miles away from a public road.
“Why anyone would be out there is indeed suspicious, ” said Sul.
He also added that the area the remains were found at doesn’t have any recreational activities around it, and the Little Missouri State Park is about 20 miles away.
Vetsch added that the remains were found in an area of “extremely tough terrain” and it would be quite a “hike” for someone to ge there from the road.
Sul said there is no timeline for when the case will be concluded, but hopes they can provide some closure for the family.