Authorities Identify Body Found on Lakeside Barge

Sheriff says cause of death remains under investigation

By Justin Franz

The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the death of a Lakeside woman whose body was found on a barge on Flathead Lake earlier this week.

Sheriff Chuck Curry identified the woman as 38-year-old Shawntal Johnston.

Curry said the cause of death has not yet been determined and detectives are still awaiting the results of an autopsy and toxicology results from the State Medical Examiner’s Office and the Montana State Crime Lab. Curry said there were not immediate indications of homicide, but the investigation is still looking at all possibilities.

911 call logs indicate the body was found at 9:30 a.m., March 21 when workers began loading the barge that was docked near Lakeside. The barge owner told dispatchers that the woman appeared “beaten up,” but the sheriff’s office did not confirm that information.

The death is considered suspicious.