News & Features

Woman Arrested in Connection to Flathead River Murder Files Motion to Dismiss

Heather Joy Meeker charged with tampering with evidence

The attorney for a 25-year-old Kalispell woman accused of playing a role in the murder of 34-year-old Anthony Walthers in April has asked a judge to dismiss the case.

Heather Joy Meeker’s attorney, Emily Lamson, filed two separate motions to dismiss a charge of tampering with evidence: one motion argues that there’s not enough evidence to prosecute and the other argues that Meeker’s Miranda rights were violated.

Meeker was arrested in April along with Cecil Thomas Rice, 26, also of Kalispell. According to law enforcement, Rice had gotten into an argument with Walthers after he said something inappropriate about Meeker. Rice pushed Walthers off a bridge in Evergreen into the Flathead River. Walthers drowned in the fast-moving water. Rice, Meeker and a third man all fled the scene in a van. Soon after, Meeker allegedly threw a bag belonging to Walthers out of the vehicle’s window. Rice was later charged with deliberate homicide. He has pleaded not guilty.

In the motion to dismiss filed last month, Lamson argues that the bag Meeker threw out had nothing to do with Walthers’ death. But Deputy County Attorney John Donovan counters that Meeker violated the law when she disposed of the bag.

“The Defendant’s claim rings hollow,” Donovan wrote. “The objective in leaving the scene immediately and disposing of the backpack believed to belong to the deceased is to a thwart law enforcement’s ability to conduct an investigation into the crime the Defendant just witnessed.”

In the second motion to dismiss, Lamson argues that investigators continued to question Meeker even after she had asked for an attorney. But Donovan counters that detectives gave Lamson her Miranda rights on multiple occasions.

District Court Judge Dan Wilson has set a hearing on both motions for July 19, 2017.