Home Georgia & USA Remains found in MT identified as man who went missing in 1976

Remains found in MT identified as man who went missing in 1976

Remains found in MT identified as man who went missing in 1976

An artist’s rendering of what Rogers “Roger” Lee Ellis may have looked like when he disappeared aged 22 in 1976. His remains, found in Montana in 2004, have just been identified and detectives are investigating his death.

Carbon County Sheriff’s Office

A skull found by a Montana hiker in 2004 has been identified as that of a Wisconsin man who went missing 46 years ago, sheriff’s officials said.

Rogers “Roger” Lee Ellis was 22 years old when he escaped from Wisconsin Rapids in 1976 after the arrest for possession of marijuana, according to a news release from the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office.

Ellis told his family he was heading west because he didn’t want to go to jail, the release said. Then he disappeared.

In June 2004, a hiker found a human skull about 15 miles south of Red Lodge, Montana, sheriff’s officials said. Deputies also found femur and pelvic bones.

DNA tests did not find a match, but reanalysis in 2022 using new techniques found the bones to be Ellis’s, the release said.

Investigators believe Ellis was hitchhiking when he left Wisconsin and was killed by someone who picked him up and left his body in Montana, sheriff’s officials said.

In hopes of finding the person who killed Ellis, a cold case investigation into his death has been launched, the release said. Investigators hope to contact people who knew him in the 1970s.

They are asking anyone with information to call 406-445-7284 or email bmahoney@co.carbon.mt.us.

The U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, the National System for Missing and Unidentified Persons and the Missoula County Sheriff’s Case Investigation Team helped identify Ellis.

Carbon County is located southwest of Billings on the Wyoming border.

Don Sweeney was a newspaper reporter and editor in California for over 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter for The Sacramento Bee since 2016.

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