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Questions loom around release of convicted abuser who allegedly admitted to killing Megan Stedman

Megan .jpg
Posted at 7:58 PM, Jan 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-17 11:57:45-05

LIVINGSTON — On Tuesday, MTN News obtained arrest documents from the Idaho Falls Police Department that showed Chris Foiles, the man accused of killing Megan Stedman, told police he stabbed her to death during an argument. Now, questions loom around domestic violence and how Foiles, a three-time convicted abuser, was released from custody after being arrested on similar charges against Stedman.

Since 2019, Rebecca Ruhd has been providing services for victims of domestic violence at Aspen in Livingston, which supports Park and two other counties.

“It is more common for things to get worse than for them to get better,” says Ruhd. “The statistics show us that if behavior is going to change, it is on the abusers.”

According to the arrest documents from Idaho Falls, Foiles told police that during an argument with Stedman, he was scared that she would contact police because there was a no-contact order between the two of them. He then allegedly stabbed Stedman multiple times, killing her.

“He was charged with a partner/family member assault by our department. And it was a felony. He had charges prior to that that were pending,” says Interim Livingston Police Chief Wayne Hard.

I asked Interim Chief Hard why Foiles was released if he posed a threat.

“Not just for me, but I think for community members, there probably is some frustration there and there's a lot that goes into all of that that I don't understand. I would like to have seen him still be in jail, obviously,” says Hard.

Court documents from Park County in November state that Stedman was scared and visibly shaken when officers responded to a welfare check at Stedman’s RV.

“You're looking for if there's fear between the parties. A lot of times, as we all know, there is a history of violence between the parties,” says Hard.

Ruhd shares this advice for anyone who may be in a domestic violence situation: “You are not alone. So many people are going through this, so many people are here to listen and help."

Below are some resources in southwest Montana for anyone who may be experiencing domestic violence:

  • Aspen: (Park, Sweet Grass and Meagher Counties) 406-222-5902
  • Gallatin County Victims Services: 406-582-2075
  • Haven: 406-548-4111
  • Montana State: 406-994-7069
  • Butte-Silver Bow Victims Services: 406-497-6230
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233