Nov 2, 2013 12:20 PM by MTN News - Billings
BILLINGS - The mystery of who carved names into stone at Pompeys Pillar east of Billings may have been solved.
Despite signs, warnings, and video cameras, someone climbed over a boardwalk railing at the historic site several weeks ago and etched new names in the national monument.
Just about three feet away from the famous July 25, 1806 signature of Captain William Clark, there is now a fresh signature, including a heart and the date, carved in the sandstone.
The carving reads: Cole + Shpresa 10/10/2013 and includes a heart symbol.
Jonathan Peart, director of Friends of Pompeys Pillar, said, "This belongs to all of us. To you, to me to every American out there. And to deface this is just a senseless act of vandalism and violence to something that has historical and cultural importance."
Peart said a silent alarm brought deputies to the monument that day. They questioned and took names from a man and a woman as they left the area, but it wasn't until a week later when an employee checking the grounds noticed the vandalism.
On Thursday, officials confirmed that Cole Randall and Shpresa Lieshiaj were the couple that was stopped at the historic monument after a silent alarm was triggered.
Randall and Kieshiaj are a singing duo in Minnesota that perform as "Flora Cash."
Their website states that they were on a tour of the "heartland" from July 20 through October 17.
Authorities have not officially identified either of them as a suspect in the crime.
We have attempted to contact the couple, but have not yet received a reply.
We will update you as we learn more.