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UPDATE: Body of missing man found in Big Hole River near Melrose

Posted at 3:07 PM, Mar 29, 2023

(Updated 4:00 PM, 3/29/23)

The Beaverhead County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the body found in the Big Hole River on Tuesday is Michael Fontz, missing since December 12, 2022.

(First report)
A body was found in the Big Hole River near Melrose on Tuesday, March 28, 2023.

Beaverhead County Sheriff's Office said in a press release that the body is believed to be Michael Fontz who wasreported missing on December 12, 2022.

The Sheriff’s Office received a call at 11:05 AM from Fish and Game who reported the body as they were floating the river.

The body was found 0.32 miles south of the Salmon Fly Campground.

On December 14, 2022, Fontz’s vehicle was found at the Maiden Rock Campground just north of Melrose. Fontz was not located with his vehicle.

Beaverhead County Search and Rescue began searching for Fontz.

The Sheriff’s Office says Fontz was believed to have gone into the river. Ruby Valley Search and Rescue’s swift water rescue team and ground searches from Silver Bow Search and Rescue assisted with the search.

The search carried on for several days before it was suspended due to cold temperatures and dangerous ice conditions. Drones were then periodically flown in the area.

Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Office, Dillon Police Department, and several Fish and Game Wardens retrieved the body at 11:38 AM on Tuesday, March 28.

The body was transported to the crime lab in Missoula for examination.

We will provide updates if we receive more information.

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