MISSOULA – Divers have temporarily suspended their search of the Clark Fork River for a Wyoming man investigators say was stabbed to death and dumped off a bridge near Alberton.
Eight divers from Missoula County Search and Rescue and the Flathead County Sheriff’s Dive Rescue Team searched the Clark Fork River about 30 miles west of Missoula over the weekend for the body of Michael J. Meadows.
Both search teams will expand their search downstream by next weekend, as more resources become available.
“We want to see this to conclusion,” said R.J. Nelsen, chief of Missoula’s rescue team. “We’ll start where we left off and work down river from there.”
Water temperatures are in the low 30s and the river’s flow remains steady and relatively slow.
“Given the water temperatures, we are fairly confident that our search area is not going to change dramatically,” Nelsen said. “Essentially, we don’t believe the conditions will move him between now and next weekend.”
Meadows, 31, of Jackson, Wyo., was stabbed early last Thursday. Cyril K. Richard, 22, is charged with murder and tampering with evidence.
Police said Richard told them he stabbed Meadows in self-defense, wrapped his body in a blanket, dragged it down the stairs to his car and dumped it off a 110-foot bridge into the Clark Fork River.
Meadows had been living in Richard’s Missoula apartment for two to three weeks while he looked for a job. Richard told police the men had been drinking heavily on the evening of Feb. 20 and that they had argued about Meadows’ inability to find a job and help pay living expenses.
Richard told police Meadows lunged at him with a pocket knife, but that he was able to take the knife away. He said Meadows lunged at him again and he stabbed meadows in the abdomen.
Police were called when another resident of the apartment building saw the bloody trail leading down the stairs.
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