SPECIAL REPORT: What Does It Take To Get Arrested In This Town, Or Is There More To The Attempted Kidnapping Of A Baby In Missoula?

by Travis Mateer

The stories are beginning to pile up, to the point that every odd NON-ACTION by law enforcement is going to be, for me, an opportunity to investigate and ask questions.

For example, did you hear about the woman who tried to kidnap a baby in the parking lot of Donation Warehouse? Neither did the guy at Conlin’s Furniture, down the street, until I showed up and told him about it after giving him my card.

Another important factor to include is the proximity of this incident to the Johnson Street shelter, which is only open during the winter months. Still, once familiarity is established with services, the presence of people like this can be a year-round phenomenon.

The conventional wisdom I suspect the general public has is that when a clearly deranged person tries to steal your baby, the person will, at the very least, be detained and assessed. But that didn’t happen in this case. From the link:

Missoula police detained Hiner and charged her with trespassing but did not arrest her.

“What we found out is that approximately 90 minutes after our interaction she approached a woman and her daughter playing in their yard about two blocks away from the Donation Warehouse and made similar threatening actions towards them,” Nicodemous said.

We asked police for more information about why Hiner wasn’t arrested.

“As a police department, we have to stick within our lawful scope, and we work from Montana Code Annotated, and the elements of kidnapping were not met,” public information officer Lydia Arnold said. “This situation impacted this family and probably impacted their perspective of Missoula and sense of safety. As parents, our children’s safety is top priority, and to have someone make a parent feel like their child is not safe will have lasting impressions.”

The family is disappointed and feels a sense of anxiety since Hiner will only be facing a misdemeanor criminal trespass from the incident.

They hope Hiner can get the help she needs to be a safe member of society, but they also would like to see a change made to the law so if in an incident like this happens again the person can be charged with attempted kidnapping.

Eventually Rhonda Hiner WAS arrested and taken to jail. Here’s the screenshot:

Since this NON-ACTION seemed rather odd to me, I spent 15 minutes searching online and connected Hiner to a VERY dangerous person currently in the Missoula County Detention Center. Here’s what Rhonda was up to in Butte last November:

And here’s the screenshot of her accomplice:

This last name is quite notorious, something I know from my time at the shelter. And I got some recent insight from a conversation with a street source that gives me a much better idea about what’s going on here.

And it’s going on east of Glacier as well. From the link:

An investigation is underway after a shooting in East Glacier and three people were found dead on Sunday at about 10 p.m.

Two men and an 18-month-old child are deceased, according to the FBI.

Two women were flown to a hospital; their current medical conditions have not been disclosed.

The FBI said in a news release that there is no search for any suspects, and there is no threat to public safety. 

The FBI, along with the Glacier County Sheriff’s Office, Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services, and Montana Highway Patrol, responded to the incident and are continuing to investigate.

I hope all those agencies listed are up to speed on the show Yellowstone and, having watched all the compelling episodes, clearly absorbed how Hollywood expects them to act. Because the sad reality is quite the opposite, as I wrote about last Sunday in my message to the myth makers.

Thanks for reading!

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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