Posted: Nov 2, 2012 3:46 PM by MTN News
HELENA - A human skull found west of MacDonald Pass in late September has been identified as that of John Michael Crites, the Birdseye-area man whose partial remains were found in a bag near the pass more than a year ago.
The news was announced in a press conference in Helena by Lewis & Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton and Powell County Sheriff Scott Howard.
The officers said that dental records were used to positively match the skull to Crites.
On Sept. 25, the Powell County Sheriff's office received a call from a couple who had stopped by the side of the road near the Mullan Pass historic site to exercise their dogs. Sheriff Howard said the dogs were acting very strange and led them to what later on was determined to be human remains.
The human skull and other remains were found about 100 yards from the site by the dogs.
The remains were taken to the State Crime Lab in Missoula for positive identification.
On Oct. 5, 2011, the remains of Crites were found just a few miles down the road in Lewis and Clark County by Forest Service personnel.
It took until January to positively identify the remains because there was a crucial piece of evidence missing: the skull.
Search warrants were issued in early October for two neighbors of Crites living on Turk Road.
In September, Mike Crites' sister Connie traveled to Montana from Colorado asking for prayers in leading to the justice in the case of her brother's death. At the time, Connie said, "Not only do we want justice for Mike, there's some scary people that are still free right, now so I would like people to pray. Pray for justice."