Rebekah Barsotti May Now Be At Rest, But Questions Surrounding Her Death Remain

by Travis Mateer


No. With the ID’ing of Rebekah Barsotti’s body yesterday, a race is now on to establish a narrative of how that body came to be “placed” on the river bank 10 months after the supposed “river accident” that triggered 2,000 hours of fruitless searching by all the agencies congratulated for failing to find the body.

Here’s the statement Sheriff Mike Toth released that for some reason does NOT acknowledge the 26 year old with a fishing pole who apparently found Rebekah.

This statement represents the first shot in the race to control the public’s view of the circumstances surrounding Rebekah’s death. So, before eager members of the public rush forward with theories speculating about what’s happening TODAY, let’s go back to July 2021 to review some basic assumptions about this case.

First, what was going on with Rebekah in the days and weeks leading up to her disappearance? Who were the last people to see her in those final days? Should any assumptions about the basic facts in this case be challenged? If so, which facts?

For example, I, myself, have never seen footage, or reviewed still images, of Rebekah meeting the person at Town Pump on the supposed last day of her life. I HAVE spoken with one of David Barsotti’s caregiver’s, Brandy Walker, and that conversation left me with quite a few questions.

One of the biggest questions is WHO made the 911 call? And why? Did a person, persons, or a family traveling from Oregon, REALLY make a 911 call because they saw some personal items stacked on the riverbank in the middle of a hot summer day in July?

The temperature that day was in the 90’s, and Rebekah’s car was parked somewhere near the river. I have taken my own dogs to this spot on the Clark Fork, and they’ve chased a few sticks into the river, and not once was I worried about the dangerous water down stream threatening their safety.

After reviewing some of these basic assumptions about the facts of the case, where should we go? Into the weeds of jurisdictions and how 2,000 hours of searching and rescuing were directed by local law enforcement, or somewhere else entirely?

How about the hitman? What, you haven’t heard about the hitman hired to kill Rebekah’s family? He’s blowing up North Dakota Facebook radio and a Youtube True Crime channel.

If, at this point, you think the introduction of a hitman might somehow undermine the idea of a river accident, welcome to the last 10 months for those paying attention. For those of you who are new, this hitman even comes with a slew of corroborating audio files, like 92 of them, documenting David Barsotti plotting to kill.

Other places we might go haven’t been prepared for public consumption yet, but at least I was told by a nice member of local PD that the hitman, who got shot in the leg last week in New Mexico, is no threat. That made my pancakes and eggs more palatable.

I mention breakfast because it was at a local eatery, right before the news broke that an ID had been announced, where I got a raw opinion from the waitress about who she thought was responsible for Rebekah’s death, then compared the case to Jermain Charlo.

One thing I learned from watching the hitman have his moment in the North Dakota spotlight (are you hearing me, Montana media?) is that PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING. While the public may perceive that a positive ID provides closure for the family, does it?

Instead of trying to answer that question, I’d like to shine the hitman’s wisdom on the Mineral County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) and how Rebekah’s mother may have been perceived BEFORE her plane landed in Montana. I think there’s a bigger story there, but for now I’ll just say this:

MCSO didn’t expect Angela Mastrovito.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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3 Responses to Rebekah Barsotti May Now Be At Rest, But Questions Surrounding Her Death Remain

  1. The Charlo case, and several others, bear similarities sufficient to raise in the minds of intelligent non-law enforcement people such ourselves, a rational hypothesis of being connected. Facts you’ve revealed, however, in addition to other differences, seem to militate against this case being part of any such constellation; but now you’ve teased us with the promise of evidence of a potential Barsotti-Charlo link. The downside of muckraking is that eventually, one needs the trust, confidence and inside information of someone, whom one has exposed to ridicule in the course of raking muck. I’m sure that has somewhat impeded your research. But, as much as that sucks, nonetheless muckrakers serve a vital public interest because the sole alternative to them is the tainted pablum and propaganda dominating ‘respectable’ media. And this is a situation in which creating public interest, and enforcing the right of the public (especially family members) to know of information the revelation to either of which would not potentially compromise the investigation, is IMO appropriate.

    I’ve suspected since returning here four years ago that several of these cases may be related — as in being criminal homicides committed by common perpetrator(s). That sort of hypothesis requires either the determination and obsessiveness and access to official data of the guy on which the citizen investigator/journalist in the film “Zodiac” (great performance by Robert Downey, Jr. right before entering rehab) was based, and/or (more commonly) it requires the establishment of a multi-jurisdictional task force of competent investigators with a central war room (or, at minimum, a virtual one) and 24/7 focus for indefinite periods.

    One of the young, pretty indigenous female homicide cases about which there has been a dearth of news, and which screams for journalistic and/or FBI investigation, is the one in which the victim was ruled to have died of hypothermia in an accidental manner after being driven to a rest area by a small group of tribal friends/acquaintances, whose story was that the victim wandered off and they droveback to the res without her. It turns out that there was a hotly contested tribal council chair election campaign underway with a lot of corruption being exposed, and threats of violence, and the victim’s father was, as I recall, the incumbent.

    I learned some things about serial disappearance/homicide task forces, and about competent vs. incompetent local homicide investigations, in the course of defending many persons accused of such offenses and facing the death penalty upon conviction, while practicing constutional and criminal defense law in Oregon from 1984-2014. That includes 27 years representing a guy accused and convicted of serial torture slayings of six street prostitutes (death penalty vacated on every appeal to state Supreme Court; one decision led to that court interpreting a statutory change in a manner invalidating death sentences across death row). In the course of defense investigation and preparation, we read tens of thousands of pages of reports, tip sheets, etc. including a great deal of material from the Green River Task Force.

    I thought that Tester and Daines had marshalled legislation through Congress that funded a task force in MT on missing indigenous women. Am I mistaken? And I thought that the MT Legislature even kicked up some dough. We never hear anything about that. I think it is more of an information clearinghouse, which is an essential component so I’m not knocking it if it is actually doing something. This has been a bipartisan thing. Databases have also been compiled by tribal action groups. How, or if, these data are being analyzed along with arrest records, field contact reports, other states’ records, etc. is unknown, at least by me. What’s going on that front? One thing you’ve pointed out, is that while the problem of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls is a crisis, we shouldn’t fail to include non-indigenous women and girls in the mix. We don’t know, for example, whether the hypothetical perpetrator(s) choose young indigenous women out of racism, or because of an enhanced opportunity they present due to undetermined factors.

    I’ll add a little more to this later, such as the obvious similarities among several of these open cases.

  2. Pingback: The Race For Mineral County Sheriff | Zoom Chron Blog

  3. Zoe Tate says:

    The corruption in this state is WELL beyond any kind of superficial status. It is a corruption that runs deep and is pathetically, thoroughly sloppy. Yet somehow still able to remain just under the surface. Barely. Time for a cannonball to break the surface if you ask me….

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