Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

By Roger Dey
Blackfoot Valley Dispatch 

Man found in woods near Lincoln identified, but mystery remains.


September 12, 2018

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton has identified the man found in the woods north of the old Lincoln Cemetery as Lee Klette, 42, of Great Falls.

Dutton told the BVD Klette claims he put the wire found around his leg there himself, and says he is not the victim of a crime.

Beyond that, Dutton said he’s keeping mum, so the circumstances that led to his injuries and five days in the woods remains a mystery.

“He’s not talking. Right now, we’re trying to piece it together, because it’s quite odd,” Dutton said.

Dutton said the hard part is that Klette’s statement means they technically don’t have crime or a victim. Nevertheless, he said they are still going to be talking to people and running down leads in an effort to find out what happened.

Dutton said there is little background information available on Klette, but confirmed he is an employee of FedEx. Klette was identified as a senior manager at FedEx Ground in Great Falls in two stories that appeared in the Great Falls Tribune in 2016.

Dutton said LCSO Det. Mike Hayes, who is part of the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force, is continuing to work the case.

Klette reportedly had multiple surgeries due to internal injuries and may face losing some digits because of his ordeal.

Anyone with any information related to the incident is urged to contact the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s office at 406-442-7883

Original BVD story 9-5-18

The Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s office is leading an investigation into how a critically injured Great Falls man wound up in the woods in Lincoln Gulch north of the old Lincoln Cemetery, two miles from where his rental car was discovered four days earlier.

Sheriff Leo Dutton told the BVD the injured man, who’s name has not yet been released, was discovered Aug 24. by an individual walking up a trail doing some metal detecting.

The man with the metal detector, who also happened to be from Great Falls, heard moaning and found the man with unspecified injuries and black plastic wire wrapped around his leg. He rendered what first aid he could before heading back down the trail to call 911.

Lincoln Ambulance responded to the call and he was flown to St. Patrick’s hospital in Missoula by Reach Air Ambulance.

A local resident spotted his abandoned car, a new Mustang, on Moon Drive Aug. 20 and notified Deputy Chris Joyce personally. Joyce was off duty, but called it in himself.

Contrary to rumors that have proliferated in the last week, the man was not found tied up with barbed wire, nor tied to a tree, but Dutton said they’re not sure how or why he ended up with the wire around his leg.

Rumors about the case have been rampant and Dutton said they’ve heard the same ones, but that so far, he said every rumor is just speculation as to why the man ended up where he did.

Although Dutton said it’s apparent foul play was involved, they haven’t been able to interview the man, who remains in critical condition.

LCSO is working with other law enforcement agencies on the case, but it remains their investigation


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