Authorities Cutting Tree To Find Bullet in Unsolved 1956 Double Murder
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) _ Authorities plan to cut down a 150-year-old cottonwood tree in hopes of finding a bullet that might shed light on an unsolved double murder 33 years ago.
Cascade County Sheriff Barry Michelotti said investigators hope to find the bullet that killed 18-year-old Lloyd Bogle, whose body was found near the tree on Jan. 3, 1956, along a dirt road that was a lovers’ lane of the era.
The body of his 16-year-old girlfriend, Patricia Kalitzke, was found the next day seven miles away.
Both had been shot in the head and the bullet that killed Bogle was missing.
″The tree ... has always been of major interest to law enforcement officers because that’s where he was killed - right at the tree,″ Michelotti said.
Michelotti said police are cutting down the tree now because they had talked about it for years and finally decided to do it.
Recovery of the bullet would enable authorities to determine the caliber of the murder weapon, the sheriff said. There even is a possibility the bullet could be matched with a weapon seized sometime over the last 33 years in another crime.
Efforts to X-ray the tree failed because of its size and density, said Sgt. Dick Duncan, an investigator on the case.
The sheriff said the tree - 80 feet tall, with a trunk 4 1/2 feet in diameter - will be cut down and 33 growth rings will be shaved off its lower section.
″Once we hit the 33-year mark on the tree, we should see an entry if the bullet went into the tree - a hole, a tunnel,″ Michelotti said.