Woman due in court in baby’s death on Montana reservation
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A suspect is scheduled to appear in tribal court Friday in the death of a 1-year-old girl on Montana’s Fort Peck Indian Reservation.
But much remains unknown in the case. Citing the ongoing investigation, authorities have declined to identify the 42-year-old female suspect or say what charges she faces. They also wouldn’t say how Kenzley Olson died or whether the woman and baby were related.
Authorities initially said Kenzley was abducted from her home this week in the small town of Poplar. The girl was found dead Wednesday.
FBI spokeswoman Sandra Yi Barker couldn’t confirm whether authorities still believe she was kidnapped.
It was the second major event in recent weeks to rattle residents of the sparsely populated reservation near the U.S.-Canada border. Authorities say in February, a 4-year-old was abducted from a Wolf Point park by a man who sexually assaulted and tried to kill her.
Judge wants jailed tycoon to reveal fate of diverted cash
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge is demanding jailed former billionaire Tim Blixseth reveal what happened to hundreds of millions of dollars he diverted from a luxury Montana resort.
The order for the first time requires Blixseth to file a complete inventory of assets that his creditors have been chasing for years. It’s due Friday.
If he complies, it would bring a decadelong legal saga closer to an end. It began when Blixseth fraudulently transferred money from the Yellowstone Club for his personal use.
He and his ex-wife founded the private ski and golf resort in Big Sky, Montana, and it went bankrupt in 2008.
Blixseth has been behind bars for a year for civil contempt over a lawsuit brought by the club’s remaining creditors. His attorneys want him released.
Ex-deputy sentenced for brandishing gun at party
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A former Lewis and Clark County sheriff’s deputy charged with hitting and pulling a gun on a man while drunk at a party has received a deferred sentence.
The Independent Record reports that Phillip Jay Clark was given a deferred sentence of 18 months on Thursday after pleading guilty to charges of negligent endangerment. Felony counts of assault with a weapon and criminal endangerment had been dropped as part of a plea deal.
Clark is accused of hitting a man several times and eventually pulling a loaded gun on him during a party at his home in December.
Clark, who resigned from the sheriff’s office after the incident, has been ordered to relinquish his Public Safety Officer Standards and Training certificate and stay away from alcohol.
Trial date in question in Bundy standoff case in Nevada
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A federal magistrate judge in Nevada is considering whether trial can be held next month in Las Vegas for rancher Cliven Bundy and 18 other defendants in an armed confrontation with government officers two years ago.
Federal prosecutors will ask Friday to push the date back due to the number of defendants and the exceptionally large amount of evidence that’ll need to be exchanged with defense attorneys.
Prosecutor Steven Myhre says material includes investigators’ reports, photos and Internet postings by defendants and their supporters.
Three of the 19 defendants say they’ll exercise their right to a speedy trial.
Seven co-defendants in Nevada, including two of Bundy’s adult sons, are also facing a federal trial in September in Oregon following their arrests in an armed occupation of a U.S. wildlife refuge.
Facebook disputes Montana candidate’s claim
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte has said in recent campaign speeches that Facebook passed over Montana as a location for a data center mainly because of the state’s business equipment tax.
But a spokesman for the Internet giant said Thursday the Bozeman Republican never spoke with Facebook officials.
In a news conference this week announcing his tax-relief proposal, Gianforte said he had talked with the company about building a data center in Montana. Gianforte asserted that the “biggest barrier” for Facebook was the business equipment tax.
Gianforte’s plan includes scrapping the tax.
Facebook spokesman Andy Stone says no discussions with Gianforte took place and the tax was not the reason the company isn’t locating in Montana.
Gianforte stands by his comments, adding that he spoke with a Facebook executive last fall.
Yellowstone visitors spend nearly $500M near park in 2015
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A new report shows that visitors to Yellowstone National Park spent nearly half a billion dollars in communities around the park in 2015.
The National Park Service’s report says that last year’s visitors spent more than $493 million in local communities through direct spending and labor income, the highest total recorded in four years.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that the money was spent in several local communities, including towns west of West Yellowstone and Gardiner.
According to the report, the largest portion of visitor money went to hotels near Yellowstone for a total of $160 million. Restaurants received about $80 million in visitor spending.
Officials are expecting more visitors this year as the National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary.