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Montana Jogger Sherry Arnold Said 'Hi' to Suspects Before Being Attacked

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Montana Jogger Sherry Arnold Said 'Hi' to Suspects Before Being Attacked Empty Montana Jogger Sherry Arnold Said 'Hi' to Suspects Before Being Attacked

Post  Gary Dee on Mon 25 Jun - 12:39


The Sindey, Montana Police Department and the FBI, along with other law enforcement agencies from the region, continue to investigate the disappearance of Sherry Arnold. Ms. Arnold disappeared Saturday, January 7, 2012, while on her morning run in the community of Sidney. It’s believed she went missing at approximately 6:30 a.m. Today, law enforcement officials determined the prudent course of action is to scale back the ground search for Ms. Arnold. Public safety personnel and volunteers spent several days searching the area where it’s believed she was running when she disappeared. At this point, law enforcement resources will be put toward other investigative efforts in this case. Because this is an ongoing investigation, the FBI cannot discuss any evidence in this matter. We are thankful for the public’s assistance and encourage residents in the area to report any information that may help solve Ms. Arnold’s disappearance. The tip line established earlier this week by Richland County has received numerous calls. Anyone with information is urged to call (406) 433-4027.


FBI Update on Sherry Arnold Disappearance

FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson of the Salt Lake City Division and Chief of Police Frank DiFonzo of the Sidney, Montana Police Department, would like to inform the public that there has been a significant development in the investigation of the disappearance of Sherry Arnold. Based on a tip from the public, law enforcement took one adult male into custody, and another adult male is being questioned by police. The investigation to determine what happened to Ms. Arnold continues.

Ms. Arnold went missing Saturday, January 7, 2012, at approximately 6:30 a.m., while on her morning run. Over the course of several days, hundreds of Sidney residents joined public safety personnel to search for her. Dozens of tips were called into the tip line that was established to bring in information about this case.

The FBI and Sidney Police Department would like to thank the community of Sidney, Montana for its support during this difficult time. Also, they extend their sincere appreciation to the Richland County Sheriff’s Office and the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation for their continued assistance in this ongoing investigation.


Seeking Assistance from Property Owners in Sherry Arnold Case

The FBI, the Sidney Montana Police Department, the Williams County Sheriff’s Office, and the Williston, North Dakota Police Department are requesting assistance from North Dakota and northeastern Montana property owners in the case of missing Montana school teacher Sherry Arnold. Based on investigative evidence gathered over the last few days, it is believed that Ms. Arnold may be deceased; her body has not been recovered.

Law enforcement is requesting North Dakota property owners in Williams County, McKenzie County, Mountrail County, and extreme northeastern Montana check shelter belts and vacant farmsteads on their land for disturbed soil. The surrounding grassy area may also appear to be matted. A shelter belt is a line of trees that protects soil from the wind. Ms. Arnold’s body may be buried in a shelter belt that contains mature or rotted trees.

It is important to note, law enforcement is only requesting help from property owners and is not requesting volunteers to come search. Property owners are advised not to put themselves at risk. Property owners who discover something unusual are asked not to disturb the site and immediately contact the Williams County Law Enforcement Center at (701) 774-9191.

Ms. Arnold went missing Saturday, January 7, 2012, at approximately 6:30 a.m., while on her morning run in the community of Sidney, Montana. Two adult males are in custody in connection with this investigation.


Folks in Sidney, Mont., used to leave their doors unlocked, knowing the worst crimes were usually bar fights. The last murder was 33 years ago.

But that small-town sense of security during what has been a regional economic boom vanished on Jan. 7, when Sherry Arnold, a 43-year-old high school math teacher – the great-granddaughter of the city's first police chief – went jogging before dawn.

Now, authorities are searching for her body in two states in what is being called a criminal case. So far, all that's been found is one of her Brooks running shoes on the edge of town along a thatch of prairie bordered by a truck road and the railroad.

Montana Jogger Sherry Arnold Said 'Hi' to Suspects Before Being Attacked Sherry-arnold-440

But authorities have two men in custody: Lester Vann Waters Jr., 47, arrested in North Dakota, and Michael Keith Spell, 22, in South Dakota. Both were charged with aggravated kidnapping. At a court appearance on Tuesday, they requested a hearing challenging their extradition to Montana.

Montana Jogger Sherry Arnold Said 'Hi' to Suspects Before Being Attacked Waters-spell

After investigators spoke with the men, Williston, N.D., Police Chief Jim Lokken asked property owners in eastern Montana and western North Dakota with large, open tracts of farmland to inspect their properties for any sign of a fresh burial – particularly by any area of "mature, dying or rotted trees."

Regional Economic Boom
Many in the city have been quick to blame the crime on a regional boom in oilfield jobs that has drawn outsiders as if it were the California Gold Rush. It's turned the parking lot outside the Williston, N.D., Walmart into a makeshift homeless camp of wall-to-wall trailers.

Sidney schools superintendent Dan Farr, himself a former oilfield roustabout, cautions that residents shouldn't rush to judgment against the oil workers.

He notes that authorities haven't yet revealed what may have drawn the two men to Sidney, or how they allegedly crossed paths with Arnold. Court records only indicate that they committed the alleged kidnapping at 6:40 a.m. on Jan. 7 near 900 E. Holly St. in Sidney – the approximate location where Arnold's sneaker was discovered.
A Caring Teacher
By all accounts, Sherry Arnold was an exceptional, caring and popular math teacher – with the district for 18 years and a teacher of the month last year. She was a married mom of two kids and three stepchildren.

The day after her disappearance, more than 1,000 of the city's roughly 5,000 residents – including students from the district – searched for her.

The following day, a Monday, many of the students who showed up for her class couldn't help bursting into tears and had to be escorted to the counseling office.

"Sherry is a rock, she's supposed to be there," Sidney High School counselor Tom Barnhart said the day before the FBI confirmed Arnold's death. "We try to be as strong as possible for the kids, and once they've left, I have a local minister in town that I visit with where I just break down."

His oldest daughter tries to put things in perspective.

"I was talking with one of my co-workers about why I was leaving so abruptly from my job, and I asked, 'Who does this happen to?' And she said, 'Normal people like you,' " says Karen Arnold Truax. "This is the thing that you think would never happen to someone you love."


MARCH 2012 (Body Found In ND CONFIRMED To Be Sherry Arnold)

Montana Jogger Sherry Arnold Said 'Hi' to Suspects Before Being Attacked Sherry-arnold-630x354

At last, she will be laid to rest and her family can start the healing process – Sherry Arnold’s body has been found. Montana State Crime Lab has confirmed that the body found Wednesday outside of Williston, ND – is in fact that of the missing teacher.

Sherry Arnold went for a run on January 7th and never returned. Michael Keith Spell, 22, and Lester Van Waters Jr., 47, both of Parachute, Colo. — plead not guilty last month to one count each of aggravated kidnapping in the case. The charge can potentially result in the death penalty.

Again, our thoughts and prayers are with her family.


Authorities have recovered human remains and confirmed that they are those of Montana math teacher Sherry Arnold, who disappeared while jogging in January.
The FBI issued a statement Wednesday afternoon, hours after the discovery in Williston, N.D., and then announced the confirmation Thursday.
A few days after Arnold's disappearance a suspect had been arrested in Williston and the body was believed buried in unattended farmland in that region, according to reports.
The body was then sent to a state medical lab in Missoula, Mont., for positive identification.

Arnold's disappearance shocked the tiny community of Sidney, Mont., where Arnold, 43, the great-granddaughter of the town's first police chief, taught at the high school.
Michael Keith Spell, 22, and Lester Van Waters Jr., 47, both of Parachute, Colo., who may have come to the area looking for oilfield work, have pleaded not guilty to one count each of aggravated kidnapping.

Court documents filed by the prosecutor say Spell told investigators he pulled Arnold into a car and that he implicated Waters in Arnold's death.
The documents say Spell told authorities that the men buried Arnold in a shallow grave, but he couldn't find it. Their trial is set for July.


MAY 2012 (Montana Jogger Said 'Hi' to Suspects Before Being Attacked)

Montana Jogger Sherry Arnold Said 'Hi' to Suspects Before Being Attacked Sherry-arnold-300

Two men pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the kidnapping and murder of Sherry Arnold after prosecutors filed court documents with new alleged details of her brutal attack.

Arnold disappeared at dusk along a rural road near her hometown of Sidney, Mont., where she was a star high school math teacher and mom to two kids and three stepchildren.

Before the arraignment, prosecutors added murder charges that make Michael Keith Spell, 22, and Lester Van Waters Jr., 48, both of Parachute, Colo., eligible for the death penalty.

According to the new documents, a jailhouse informant named Michael Pruit says Spell told him that Waters instigated the attack because the men were "high on drugs and Waters wanted to have sex."

Pruit says Spell told him that Arnold jogged past him and said, "Hi."

"Spell said he turned around and speared Sherry in the back of the head and knocked her down," the documents say. "Spell said he choked her out ... pushed Sherry's face into some water and drowned her to make sure she was dead."

Spell has allegedly told authorities that it was Waters who killed Arnold, according to other court documents filed earlier by the prosecution.

The documents say the men bought a shovel at a North Dakota Wal-Mart, dug a hole, placed Arnold's body on her side in a fetal position and buried her.

More than two months later, Waters allegedly led FBI agents to her body, according to the court documents. Waters told authorities on the scene that, "I didn't kill that lady," according to the documents.

Gary Dee
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