New information was revealed on Tuesday (11/29), regarding a nearly 50-year-old cold case that involves the discovery of a human skull south of Red Lodge in 2004. According to a social media post by the Carbon County Sheriff's Office, the identity of the bones found by hikers in Montana eighteen years ago has been corroborated by DNA testing.

Credit: Michael Foth TSM
Credit: Michael Foth TSM
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Remains ID'd as a Wisconsin man named Rogers “Roger“ Lee Ellis.

Hikers reported finding a skull in June 2004 about 15 miles south of Red Lodge. Authorities responded and found two more bones, a femur and a pelvic bone. All remains were determined to be from the same person, a male between the ages of 15 and 32. In 2022, utilizing advances in DNA sequencing technology, law enforcement determined the remains belonged to a Wisconsin man named Rogers Lee Ellis. They said,

This investigation resulted in the identification of the remains as those of Rogers “Roger“ Lee Ellis, who was born in Wisconsin Rapids, WI in 1954. Investigation revealed that in 1976, Ellis was facing legal issues related to an arrest for marijuana possession. Ellis told his family he didn’t want to go to jail and that he was going to head west. Ellis had no further contact with his family.

Authorities believe Ellis hitchhiked west and was killed along the way, with the body tossed in Carbon County, Montana.

Courtesy Carbon County Sheriff's Office via Facebook
Courtesy Carbon County Sheriff's Office via Facebook
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Perhaps someone in Montana knows something?

1976 was a long time ago. I was just a toddler at the time. But authorities hope perhaps someone (maybe your parents or grandparents?) can recall suspicious activity in or around Red Lodge in the winter or early spring of 1976. An artist's rendition of what the victim may have looked like at the time of the murder is pictured above. Carbon County Sheriff's Office wrote,

CCSO is working with detectives in Wisconsin and neighboring jurisdictions to try and identify additional information about Ellis and any friends and associates in 1976, as well as identify any other similar cases in the region during that time frame that may help identify those responsible for ending this young man’s life.

If you have any info, contact Carbon County Sheriff’s Office, Detective Mahoney at 406-445-7284, or bmahoney@co.carbon.mt.us.

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