The Billings Gazette from Billings, Montana on April 5, 1992 · 24
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The Billings Gazette from Billings, Montana · 24

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Billings, Montana
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Sunday, April 5, 1992
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24
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CITY STATE 6-C Sunday, April 5, 1992 The Billings Gazette C sferyof Thermo pDis b OUGS Solving it: Questions stand poor chance of ever being answered By MICHAEL MILSTEIN Gazette Wyoming Bureau THERMOPOLIS, Wyo. Monday evening, when Newel Sessions was cleaning out an old shed a friend had given him about five years ago, he decided to finally check inside a locked metal box rusting away there. "I was trying to make some more room and I wanted to get rid of it," said Sessions, who lives just north of Thermopolis. "I thought if there was anything in there of value, I'd save it If not, I'd throw it in the trash." But after he used a cutting torch to slice open the padlock on the Army footlocker, he was astonished to see a human skeleton inside. "Those bones, they were just lying loose in there," said Sessions, 68, a retired tractor repairman. "It's quite a surprise to see that and think it was someone who was walking around on this earth at one time." Forensic experts believe the bones were those of a man, between 30 and 40 years old, shot in the head with a snub-nosed pistol perhaps 50 years ago somewhere in the Midwest By the look of the bones, they suspect the remains were buried without a casket, then dug up and locked in the trunk. Hot Springs County deputies and Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agents are now investigating what they think is a decades-old murder one already drawing media interest from across the nation. "This is one case that's going to take a long, long time," predicted DCI Director Tom Page! "Even then, the chances of solving it are very poor. It's like going back to World War II and deciding who killed who." "You'd be questioning your grandparents," Pa-gel said. Aside from a sack from an Iowa grocery chain, part of a belt and some clothing, there were few clues about who the victim was or where he was killed. Pagel said experts may make a model of the man's facial features from his skull to compare with pictures from old missing-person reports. After finding the bones, Sessions said, he called the insurance adjuster friend who had given him the shed in 1987 when moving from Thermopolis to the Dallas, Texas, area. The man said he had bought the trunk in the early 1980s at a yard sale in Oklahoma City, Okla, figuring to use it as a toolbox. But since the footlocker was locked tight Sessions said, the Texas man "never bothered to take the damn padlock off either." On learning of the trunk's macabre contents, "he was just as surprised as I was." About two years ago, Sessions' friend had returned to Thermopolis to pick up some furniture and other contents of the shed. "He was going to take the trunk too, but he had his trailer loaded plumb to the hilt," Sessions recalled, "so he said he would try to get it the next time." State agents will head out of Wyoming next week, Pagel said, first to question the man in Texas and then to track down the site of the Oklahoma City yard sale. They will try to tie the bones' origin to a particular geographic area, narrowing down the search for past missing persons. By taking an X-ray of the skull found in the trunk, experts at the Wyoming Crime Laboratory could tell the man was shot in the left eye. From marks on the bullet still in the skull they could tell it was fired from a .25 caliber Colt semiautomatic pistol with a two-inch barrel. About 400,000 of those guns, intended for personal protection, were made between 1908 and 1941. They had six-shot magazines. "This is definitely an odd case there will probably be a run on footlockers at yard sales now," offered Pagel. Sessions said he will not be too afraid of opening any more strange boxes: "I wouldn't expect anything like this to happen again in a lifetime. It's a true mystery." Skull found near Falls; officer says it's ancient GREAT FALLS (AP)-A human skull was found by a farmer on Friday at what Cascade County authorities suspect was an ancient burial site. The human skull was lying on a mound of dirt at the ranch north of Great Falls, said Lt Jim Bruckner of the sheriffs office. He said the burial site and skull "appear to have been there many years." "We're not even approaching it as a criminal investigation because it appears to be so old," Bruckner said. He wouldn't divulge the exact location because he doesn't want anyone disrupting the area until experts are on the scene. It is the second time within three weeks that mysterious bones have been found in the county. The skeletal remains of an infant were found by workers digging around a water line at Manchester Cemetery in March. Someone had placed a baby's body in a plastic bag and then buried it inside a cooler about two feet deep in an unauthorized grave at the rural cemetery years ago. An archaeological team from the University of Montana planned to view the site over the weekend, and Bruckner said the state Historical Preservation Society would be contacted if appropriate. Bruckner said the skull apparently was pushed out of an animal den and onto the mound of dirt The skull is missing its lower jaw and four front teeth. Extensive wear appears on the teeth that are intact Part of a shoulder blade, part of an upper-arm bone and one vertebrae were found along with theskulL 3 Dig for drug money successful Crow elections May 9 The general election for the Crow Tribe will be Saturday, May 9. Polls on the reservation will be open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Offices up for election include tribal chairman, tribal vice chairman, tribal secretary and tribal vice secretary. All enrolled members of the tribe at least 18 years of age are eligible to vote. The deadline for nominating petitions is April 30. Nominating petitions are available at the Crow Tribal Secretary's office. All candidates must pay a $25 filing fee with the BIA Crow Agency Collection Office. Montana off radio-link list Rep. Pat Williams, D-Mont, says the Air Force is dropping three Montana sites from a list of proposed locations for a "Ground Wave Emergency Network" communication system. The low-frequency radio link is known by its acronym, GWEN. Williams said the Defense Department has approved dropping a controversial site in the Bitterroot Valley, along with sites near Broadus, and in Roosevelt County. "In taking a fresh look at GWEN, the Defense Department is satisfied that the communications system has adequate coverage and redundancy without the Corvallis site," Williams said in a statement In alL the Defense Department is dropping nine of 42 proposed GWEN sites. According to Williams, the Pentagon revised the plan because of base closures and changing strategic needs after the collapse of the Soviet Unioa Cascade school recognized The Cascade school district's high school reading program has been selected for recognition as one that helps educationally disadvantaged children improve reading skills, Sen. Conrad Bums, R-Mont, announced Friday. Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander recognized the Cascade program as one of 57 outstanding programs in the country. Man dies of gun wound A Wyoming man was found dead in his car at Hyalite Dam in Bozeman Saturday afternoon, the apparent victim of an accidental shooting earlier in the day, officials said. Christopher Glen Logan, 24, of Jackson, had tried to stop the bleeding from his leg wound with a crudely fashioned tourniquet, said Gallatin County Coroner Rob Myers. "He apparently had been up there target practicing and was in his car reloading when the gun went off," Myers said. "He tied a tourniquet around his leg using a Levi jacket but when you sever an artery like he did, you dont have long." Myers said the weapon involved was .44-caliber Magnum pistoL GREAT FALLS (AP) - A team of federal drug investigators on Saturday found the $33,000 in buried drug money they were searching for in the Little Belt Mountains south of Great Falls. It has been buried for five years. Ben Yarbrough, Montana agent for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, said the drug-related currency was found Saturday afternoon only inches from where searchers had stopped Friday. "It's in good condition, well-preserved," he said of the stack of $20, $50 and $100 bills. The stash was triple-wrapped in plastic and cloth, he said, and was located under a rock where workers had been told to look. Assisting at the scene was Ron ald Paulson, who buried the money and who was convicted for running a drug ring in the Great Falls area. He and his brother, Curtis, face up to 12 years in prison. But they could have received 20 years had they not agreed to help law enforcement in recovering the money and winding up other phases of the investigation. Paulson and his brother ran a drug ring that imported up to 10 tons of marijuana and sizable amounts of cocaine. Ronald told authorities he buried the money in the spring of 1989. The two men have pleaded guilty to running a continuing criminal enterprise and face 12 years in a federal prison. The mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years is being reduced through a plea agreement in which the Paulsons will assist prosecutors. The search for the $33,000 is part of that bargain. Since prosecutors found the money, they have will to take it instead of property in Great Falls belonging the the men's parents. The parents, too, have been convicted in connection with the drug ring. All told, almost $1 million worth of property, vehicles, animal pelts, and other goods have been seized in what agents refer to as Operation Ko-diak. The $33,000 is the first cash to be seized in the drug bust The money will be divided among the Great Falls police, the Cascade County sheriffs department, the Montana Criminal Investigation Bureau and the DEA. SUSAN BARROW SCHOOL BOARD EXPERIENCE & COMMITMENT REMEMBER TO VOTE APRIL 7th Paid for by Susan Barrow for School Board, Judy Kastrop, Treasurer Wmm X,LJ ft ! I . 1 1 ricuii mease Jprtl 25 & 26 Rocky Mountain College on the Green Saturday l(h00 AM - 5:00 PM Sunday 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Pkmjourperfectweddmg! . You are invited to join the Billings Gazette and Party Time Plus for Bridal Showcase A Wedding Celebration, April 25 & 26, at Rxky Mountain College on the Green In an elegant and romantic setting, you'll find everything you need to create the perfect wedding. Elegant andronianticsetting A beaulifi ufy gabled white tent sets the stage for this springtime celebration. Debitor booths and a professional-staged bridal fashion show create a festive atmosphere. It's a perfect time to put the finishing touches on or to begin planning for your wedding. Everything -from invitations to tnennai toast n K t i Exhibitors: Rocky Mtn. College Campus POLY DR. There is free admission to a wide variety of exhibitors. Unique displays and professional wedding planners will make creating each stage of your wedding much easier. Plus, the bridal party is sure to find great gift-giving ideas and special touches sure to make the special day a huge success. Beautifullij-stagedfashwn C rlfijl) Brides will watch with delight as a prof essiona'ly- produced uiujiv bridal fashbn show adds the final toijches to a perfect day. And with the Billings Gazette's and Paly Time Plus' help, the perfect weatfing.Just$1.00wttiVatebleGazete - RIMROCKRD. 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