MISSOULA (AP) – A University of Montana student has been arrested on suspicion of murder after officers investigated a trail of blood leading from his third-floor apartment to the parking lot.
“We haven’t found a body yet, but everything so far is leading us to believe there will be one,” said Capt. Marty Ludemann, head of the department’s detective division.
Cyril K. Richard, 22, was booked at the Missoula County Detention Facility at 6 p.m. Thursday and was being held on $50,000 bail. A court appearance was scheduled for Friday afternoon.
Police said a search of Richard’s apartment revealed that some kind of disturbance took place. Richard’s roommate is missing, officers said.
“We have a big puzzle here and we are slowly putting the pieces together in an effort to see the big picture,” Welsh said. “We don’t have that yet.”
Officers were searching the Alberton area for a body.
“Search and rescue operations are under way right now,” Mineral County Sheriff Hugh Hopwood told the Missoulian Friday. “We have a helicopter in the air, people in patrol vehicles checking the Fish Creek area, and we have a boat in the (Clark Fork) water.”
The investigation began shortly before 6 a.m. Thursday, when a resident of the Copper Run Apartments called 911 to report the blood trail.
The caller said she was getting ready for work and noticed a man “cleaning something up” on the balcony outside, said Sgt. Travis Welsh. The caller then went outside and discovered what looked like a bloody drag trail.
The trail led away from the front door of Richard’s apartment, along a walkway and down several flights of stairs, and ended at an empty parking space.
When police traced the blood back to the apartment, Richard answered the door. He was treated at a Missoula hospital for a broken arm and what appeared to be knife wounds and defensive injuries, none of which were life-threatening, Ludemann said. His injuries were not the source of the blood trail, police said.
Police also interviewed residents of the apartment building, looking for witnesses who might have seen or heard anything suspicious during the course of the night.
“Somebody said they heard a ‘bump, bump, bump’ going down the stairs in the night,” said Assistant Chief of Police Mark Muir. However, the person did not immediately report the noise to authorities.
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.