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11-Year-Old Missing Person Case Solved

Photo courtesy of Missoula City Police Department

Scientists from the University of North Texas were recently able to provide some insight into an 11-year-old missing person case involving a University of Montana student.

Jonathan Depatie disappeared in August 17, 2001. Because Jonathan was an avid backpacker it was originally assumed that he had gone out into the wilderness, however, his hiking, survival equipment, and wallet were found at home.

Three years later, Missoula police received a report that a portion of a human skull and a lower mandible had been discovered in the Rattlesnake Recreation area. An extensive search revealed more skeletal remains spread out over an area about two football fields wide.

Detective Captain Greg Hintz who is now retired made a connection between the two cases back in 2010 and urged Depatie’s mother and sister to submit DNA samples so that they could be compared with the FBI’s DNA profile.

DNA results show that the odds are  11 million to 0ne that the bones found in the Rattlesnake belong to a member of the Depatie family.

Public information officer for the Missoula City Police Department, Jordan Johnson explains the case.

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Although head trauma is suspected to be the cause of death, local police do not believe foul play led to Jonathan’s death.


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