DNA Tests Show Remains Those of Missing Belgrade Woman
Contact: Al Nash, 307-344-2015
Contact: Stacy Vallie, 307-344-2015
National Park Service
Yellowstone National Park
DNA TESTS SHOW REMAINS THOSE OF MISSING BELGRADE WOMAN
DNA tests have confirmed that remains discovered in Yellowstone last fall are those of a woman missing for nearly three years.
Nineteen-year-old Candace May Kellie of Belgrade, Montana, was a concessions employee at Roosevelt Lodge. She was last seen driving away from the employee housing area in the early morning hours of Wednesday, June 29, 2005. Later that same day, a hiker found her green Ford Explorer submerged in the Yellowstone River about a mile east of Tower Junction.
Investigators believe Kellie was eastbound when her vehicle struck an embankment on the right side of the road, then crossed to the left side and went over an embankment, before dropping more than 100 feet into the river. The vehicle apparently was swept downstream a short distance before coming to rest in shallow water about 50 feet from the river bank. The heavily damaged vehicle was found to be unoccupied when pulled from the river. Despite an extensive search, no sign of the missing woman was found.
This past September, anglers discovered a human skull in the Yellowstone River upstream from the town of Gardiner, Montana. A search of the area by park rangers and archeologists failed to turn up any additional physical evidence.
When the Wyoming State Crime Lab was unable to identify the remains using dental records, the skull was sent to the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth. DNA tests were conducted at state of the art facilities at the university’s Center for Human Identification. Based on the strength of the test results, investigators are convinced the remains are those of the missing young woman.
No recovery has been made of Luke Sanburg. The thirteen-year-old Boy Scout from Helena, Montana, fell into the Yellowstone River just five days before Candace Kellie went missing.
Recent warm temperatures following a heavy winter snowfall means the park’s rivers and streams are running near peak levels. Visitors are urged to be careful around these swollen, dangerous waterways.
Updated trail information is available at park visitor centers and backcountry offices or by calling Yellowstone’s Central Backcountry Office at 307-344-2160 during normal business hours.
- www.nps.gov/yell -
Did You Know?
At peak summer levels, 3,500 employees work for Yellowstone National Park concessioners and about 800 work for the National Park Service.