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Investigation continues into West Yellowstone, Billings deaths

Residents tell of a restless night
Posted at 5:49 PM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-17 16:26:54-04

WEST YELLOWSTONE — Law enforcement officials continue to navigate through what happened over the last two days that left three people dead: one in Billings and two near West Yellowstone.

“On April 15th, 2021 at about 10:30 PM deputies were called to an agency assistance request down near West Yellowstone for a vehicle pursuit,” said Sergeant Justin Schnelbach with the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office. “The vehicle was wanted in connection to a homicide out of Billings.”

The incident out of Billings happened Thursday afternoon. Billings police found a woman dead and said it was suspicious because she showed signs of trauma.

The Yellowstone County Coroner's Office identified the Billings murder victim as 64-year-old Roxann Renee Watson.

Watson died of strangulation and multiple blunt force trauma, the coroner's office said.

A couple of hours later, Billings Police put out an alert on two people of interest, which is where Gallatin County comes in after locating the vehicle.

“Man there were police all over, down the road with spotlights out in the forest and stuff,” said Ostler. “We hunkered down for the night and had kind of a restless night because they were out there most of the night.”

“Shortly after the pursuit, the suspects fled into a wooded area near Duck Creek,” said Schnelbach. “Multiple agencies responded and set up a perimeter. A shelter in place order was requested. Shortly after the suspects fled into the wooded area, law enforcement heard two gunshots. Both suspects were later located deceased.”

Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer says the bodies of two people were found in a wooded area near highways 191 and 287 early Friday (April 16, 2021) morning.

Springer says both are homicide suspects from the Billings area.

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Officers found the two bodies around 2:30 Friday morning. Neighbors weren’t sure what was going on but knew it was something serious based on how wildlife was responding

The sheriff says that about 10:30 pm Thursday night Yellowstone National Park Rangers attempted to make a routine traffic stop of a vehicle on Highway 191. He says the vehicle fled until it neared Duck Creek Road and 191. At that point, the two people inside fled into the woods.

Officers found the two bodies around 2:30 Friday morning. Neighbors weren’t sure what was going on but knew it was something serious based on how wildlife was responding

“We had a herd of bison stampeding down the road we had to stop because they were just running like crazy then we got closer and we could see emergency vehicles even then,” said Garrett Ostler, West Yellowstone resident.

“Man there were police all over, down the road with spotlights out in the forest and stuff,” said Ostler. “We hunkered down for the night and had kind of a restless night because they were out there most of the night.”

Right now, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Department is conducting the investigation, but multiple agencies are involved.

RELATED:

Update: Authorities release name of Billings murder victim
Two dead after chase near West Yellowstone