by Travis Mateer
I wasn’t planning on walking a good length of the river where Joey Thompson’s body was supposedly found by a private property owner between the Tarkio boat launch site and the Forrest Grove boat launch, but since my attempt to make public comment at the MINERAL County Commissioner meeting wasn’t successful (they start at 10am now, not 11), I wanted to salvage SOMETHING from my trip to Superior, Montana.
The area I’ve been wanting to check out is difficult to access, so I parked near this interstate bridge that spans the Clark Fork river and started walking upstream. What I found creeped me out.
Footage of my exploration can be found further down. But first, here are the other posts I’ve written so far that reference this case:
Who Knows What Happened To Joey Thompson? (May 15th, 2023)
We Adults Are Failing The Friends Of Joey Thompson (May 20th, 2023)
We’re Keeping The Coroner And Crime Lab Busy In Zoom Town! (June 2nd, 2023)
This image shows some structures on the north side of I-90 where the cattle raised on this land are tended to. Since my upbringing was of the suburban-brat variety, I’m not sure what it takes to raise cattle, or to test sick animals for diseases, like chronic wasting.
Would a rancher, for example, cut a hole in the head of a young calf to test its brain for Chronic Wasting Disease? Or would a hunter do the same for a deer? And, after getting a brain sample, would they just leave the head behind?
I’m asking these specific questions because I found the skull of an animal with a hole clearly cut into it, a hole that appears sawed by human hands. Here’s a picture:
See the hole? You can’t miss it, and it looks like whoever made it knew what they were doing. I’m trying really hard not to jump to ANIMAL SACRIFICE because I think there are probably more plausible explanations.
In an attempt to find a less nefarious reason for the hole in the skull, I did a brief search and found a little context from a Wisconsin government website on how hunters can take samples from their kills in order to test for Chronic Wasting Disease. It does, indeed, have something to do with the head. From the link (emphasis mine):
While I investigate cases of people who have died in Western Montana under mysterious circumstances (notice the lack of racial/social qualifiers), our local media and criminal justice pretenders, like Jesse Laslovich, are making themselves appear important and competent by discussing HATE CRIMES.
From the link (emphasis mine):
Anti-LGBTQ+ laws swept the nation during the last round of state legislative sessions, but hate against LGBTQ+ individuals in Montana is documented locally, too.
“We haven’t just had national and international incidents grounded in hate,” Montana U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said at the panel, hosted at the University of Montana’s Alexander Blewett III Law School. “We’ve experienced them right here, in Montana, as there’s been an increase in hateful rhetoric against historically marginalized groups, such as our LGBTQ+ community members.
“With the recently concluded Montana legislative session, new laws have targeted transgender youth and the drag communities.”
Missoula Rep. Zooey Zephyr, one of Montana’s first transgender lawmakers, was censured in the recent legislative session, and homophobic neo-Nazis showed up to Missoula’s Trans Day of Visibility in March.
I have to be VERY careful with my frustration here because there are personal implications with what I know about an investigation at the state level on the back-burner with personal ties to our U.S. Attorney. That’s why I won’t detail ALL the calls I made last Thursday, I’ll just mention that Travis Spinder (Montana Crime Lab) and Kyler Nerison (Montana AG Office) both received voicemails from me about what is NOT happening in the Joey Thompson case.
Before wrapping this post up with my video report from the banks of the Clark Fork River, I’ll include one more quote from the HATE CRIME article, because it includes the detective I spoke to recently about what I think this graffiti means:
Here’s the quote (emphasis mine):
Missoula Police Detective Ethan Smith serves at the department’s LGBTQ+ Community Liaison.
Smith said he monitors social media posts and decides what to focus resources on.
“My biggest concern, of course, is if there’s going to be something dynamic, it’s going to happen at an event like this,” Smith said of Missoula’s Pride events. “So we do investigate that stuff.”
It looks like I talked to the right detective. At least I hope I did. Now, here’s the video:
Thanks for reading!