UPDATE—7:00 a.m. Saturday, April 11, 2020

University of Montana Communications Director Paula Short provided more information about the incident that occurred on Mt. Sentinel on Friday evening.

“The incident started at around 2:30 p.m.,” said Short. “That’s when reports came in to 9-1-1 and UM Police reporting an injured hiker on the north trail of Mt. Sentinel. That report was quickly followed by another that said the hiker had been assaulted resulting in her injury. UM PD responded to that scene and located that victim. Upon interviewing her, they issued a Timely Warning to the campus. A physical description of the suspect in that assault was given as that of a white male in his 30’s or 40’s wearing a black shirt, black pants and a baseball cap. That information came out through the Timely Warning system at the university.”

That was only the first incident that occurred on Mt. Sentinel on Friday.

“Not long after that Timely Warning UM PD were contacted by someone on the mountain that had been hiking, heard the alert and had located an article of clothing that was worn by the suspect,” she said. “UM PD was able to go up the mountain and gather that material and some additional information. They believed the suspect had continued further up the mountain. Sometime later, additional reports came in about a person matching the description of the suspect who was continuing to harass hikers on the mountain. That led to a pursuit by law enforcement responders from local agencies, including the sheriff’s department, Missoula City Police and the Forest Service, as well as local fire agencies, both at the base of Mt. Sentinel and through other access points.”

The next report came in at about 6:30 p.m.

“It was reported that the suspect had been located and had come into an altercation with a group of hikers high up on the mountain, and that there had been injuries as a result,” she said. “Local officials arranged for medical transport for those injured in that incident, as well as the earlier injury, and they continued to investigate the scene. Shortly after 8:00 p.m. the university issued an all clear message that the suspect was in custody and the investigation continues.”

Short said the identity of the suspect and his injuries were not reported as of Saturday morning.


University of Montana Police are reporting that a woman was attacked near the ‘M’ trail on Mount Sentinel on Friday afternoon.

Lieutenant Brad Giffin provided what few details were available.

“It was near the ‘M’ trail,” said Giffin. “The best way to describe it was north of the ‘M’ and a little bit down from it. We had a report that a female was attacked. She described her attacker as being 30 to 40 years old wearing black pants, a black shirt and a ball cap and he was last seen heading up the mountain.”

Giffin said the attack occurred at about 2:30 p.m.

“We have MPD, the Sheriff’s Office and everybody else trying to help us try to locate this person,” he said. “She was injured and was being transported to the hospital. We sent a person over to the hospital to try to get a more definitive statement from her, and we have people at the scene talking to witnesses.”

Giffin did not know her age or the extent of the woman’s injuries.

“We’re encouraging anybody that was up there that may have any leads to call us at 243-6131,” he said.

Hundreds of people hike the popular ‘M’ trail every day, especially when authorities are asking people to avoid crowds due to the COVID 19 virus.

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