Posted: Nov 22, 2012 1:00 PM by Erin Schermele (email@example.com)
Updated: Nov 22, 2012 1:00 PM
LEWISTOWN - It was nine years ago this week when Allen Theis of Minnesota came to Montana to explore the state's vast wilderness - and then went missing in the Missouri River Breaks.
There has been no sign of him since, but the Fergus County Sheriff's Office won't give up hope.
Sheriff Thomas Killham noted, "He was an amateur archaeologist, amateur anthropologist, liked animals and rocks and stuff. And there is probably not a better place to do that plus do a little hunting."
Theis checked into the Super 8 in Lewistown on November 22nd, 2003; he was scheduled to check out on the 24th, but by the 26th there was still no sign of him.
Killham said, "We sent a plane and they found his truck almost immediately near the Stafford Ferry."
Theis was still nowhere to be found, and search and rescue crew began their recovery mission into steep terrain.
Killham explained, "The big problem with that particular area as far as I am concerned, is that it is probably some of roughest, nastiest breaks that we got in Fergus County. And there are sink holes that are deep."
Countless hours, days, and months of searching led to nothing,
Rumors spread that Theis may have run off to Mexico, or was trying to escape his life back home.
But Sheriff Killham says it's evident Theis was lost to the wilderness that he came in search of: "Hunters are wanderers...if you get into that country and start wandering around, you aren't necessarily going to get lost, because you can see the river and the fields on top. It's from here to here, not that big of distance, but it's in here that kills you."
A year ago Theis was officially pronounced dead, but the fact that his remains have yet to surface still hangs over the head of the Fergus County Sheriff.
"We never give up hope. Someday I feel a rancher, or hunter is going to walk onto his remains. Maybe his guns or some of his clothing...who knows," said Killham.
Killham says this missing person case is a good reminder for hunter that despite new technology, people need survival skills and proper equipment to make it in Montana's vast terrain.