A man, barely clinging to life, found in forest near Lincoln - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

A man, barely clinging to life, found in forest near Lincoln

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Today we learned that a mysterious case of a man found in the woods has become even more complicated.

Lewis and Clark county Sheriff Leo Dutton identified the man as Lee Klette. Authorities decided to reveal his name because he is no longer considered  a victim.

That's because Klette claims he tied the plastic wire around his leg himself. However, he will not tell investigators why. In fact, Klette still has not revealed very much about how he wound up injured in the forest in the first place.

 "If he's not wanting to file anything, then we don't have a victim. So, we have a suspicious circumstances incident that we're working to solve, said Dutton.

Although circumstances have changed, both the FBI Violent Crime Task Force and the sheriff's department will continue to pursue the case. Detective Mike Hayes, who is a task force officer, and Dutton, say they'll keep looking for answers until they determine if the crime was violent or non-violent.

"The story is yet to be told as to exactly what happened. If we can develop something, but if we can't the story will end in an unfortunate set of circumstances. He nearly lost his life three times," said Dutton.  

Klette remains in a Missoula hospital where he stands to lose several of his fingers and toes. He had to undergo several surgeries to keep him alive as his liver stopped working on multiple occasions. In the meantime, officers say they have a few people -that might be involved- lined up to be interviewed.

Dutton says in all of his years as sheriff, he's never seen a case quite like this. Once Klette is released from the hospital, it will be completely up to law enforcement to solve the mystery.


A man, who was barely clinging to life, was found in a forest near Lincoln. The Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Department is hard at working trying to found what landed the man in that situation.

The victim's name has not been released, but he is described as a 42-year-old white male from Great Falls.

The case started a couple of weeks ago when an abandoned Ford Mustang was reported near Lincoln Gulch Road on August 20.

Authorities sent out search crews, but they could not find anyone at the time. However, the man's fate changed when someone in the forest heard a man moaning out of pain.

“There seems to be some foul play here. We did find him. There was some wire wrapped around one of his legs. And things that are not akin to just happening, or to fall down,” said Lewis and Clark County Sheriff, Leo Dutton.

When found, the victim was in critical condition. So, he was unable to talk. He has spent the past couple of weeks undergoing several surgeries at a hospital in Missoula.

While he may be released in the coming days, the man is still at risk for losing several extremities.

However, the big problem now is that the man will not talk to authorities. However, the Sheriff's department is working with the FBIs Violent Crime Task Force to solve the case.

If you have any information surrounding the incident, the Sheriff's Department urges you to give them a call.

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