Manhunt For Suspected Killer Intensifies Near Helena – $1.5 Million Warrant For Arrest [YouTube]
The manhunt for suspected killer and carjacker Branden Meismer continues in the rugged foothills outside Helena.
Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton told KGVO News Tuesday night that an exhaustive search is being conducted in the Black Sandy State Park area off I-15 north of Helena.
"This is the end of our second day, and unfortunately, we have not found any real clues," Dutton said. "We're following up on leads and I am increasing the size of the law enforcement presence in the area, and we have been working closely with the residents in the search area."
Meismer has been charged with deliberate homicide in Great Falls, after allegedly shooting a man to death inside a residence on 7th Street North. Reportedly, Meismer forced a man and a woman to provide transportation for him at gunpoint. He then released them at a local Subway sandwich shop and stole their vehicle, driving to Helena.
"Many have asked why we haven't evacuated all the homes in the area, well, currently, they're my best asset," he said. "They're the eyes and ears of my office and I can't possibly do this without them. Tomorrow we'll continue the search and keep looking until we determine hat's he's not here, or until we find him."
Dutton said the safety of the residents and of his officers is the top priority.
"There';s a lot of territory between these houses in the Black Sandy area, and it's taking a long time for tactical units to move through these areas and maintain safety," Dutton continued. "Safety is a priority for the teams and for the suspect. We want this to end peaceably. We do have warrants from both Great Falls and Lewis and Clark County for the suspect."
The manhunt will continue at sunrise on Wednesday. Meismer is wanted on a $1.5 million warrant for deliberate homicide out of Great Falls, and other charges are expected out of Lewis and Clark County.