William Arocha, Jr., has been charged in connection with the stabbing death of Shane LaPlant that happened on Wednesday, July 5th. Witnesses tell MTN News that it happened during a wedding party near the Bear Track Store. Arocha is facing charges of assault resulting in bodily injury, and negligent endangerment.
Shane leaves behind many friends and family, including his children and wife Jo Ann. The 35-year-old was from Browning, but had lived in Helena for the past 12 years. Jo Ann talked with MTN’s Shannon Newth about her journey for justice.
Jo Ann is on a mission: “I have a fire in my belly that’s just not going away. I’m going to fight every second...I will not rest until they have justice for my husband.”
Jo Ann met Shane when she was just 12 years old. Shane was her first kiss, her first boyfriend, and eventually the love of her life. A heart-wrenching call forever changed her life.
“My mom got a call from the police in Browning around 3 (a.m.). They said that Shane had been stabbed multiple times at a party in East Glacier and they were taking him to the hospital. And we got to the hospital and i was able to be there with Shane as he passed away. I prayed with my husband,” Jo Ann explained.
According to Jo Ann, Shane had been setting off fireworks with friends near a wedding in East Glacier the night of his death. She saw him around midnight before heading home. Details are sparse as to what happened between the time she left him and when she saw Shane at the hospital. What she does know is the extent of his injuries.
“I know Shane was stabbed at least 17 times in the back and in the head and he had defensive wounds on his arms and hands,” said Jo Ann.
Answers have been hard to come by in the days since Shane’s death. Jo Ann has felt left in the dark and said what happened to her husband shouldn’t be an open and shut case.
Jo Ann explained “I never heard anything from any investigator. I was supposed to. I wasn’t given any information at all for the first five days.”
She’s now meeting with the FBI in hopes of finding help. Jo Ann has a personal platform to inspire change through her journey for justice as she seeks truth amidst rumors, and communication in place of silence, not just for her family, but for all of those who seek justice.
Jo Ann’s love for Shane is fueling a passion and drive that is helping her put one foot in front of the other one day at a time. As the days pass, she is learning more about her husband through the memories of people Shane knew.
“I don’ think he ever could have imaged how much he meant to other people, the things people have told me in the past few days about how much Shane meant to them.”
Jo Ann said she realizes now that she’s not alone, thanks to the outpouring of support she’s received from others and the memory of her husband.
“My husband is here to guide me through this and I know that there will be justice for Shane. I know there will be.”
Jo Ann is taking her mission to social media, asking people to use #JUSTICEFORSHANE.
The family also has plans to offer a reward for information that helps lead to the conclusion of murder cases in Browning.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help the LaPlant family; it reads:
Shane LaPlant was a loving, compassionate, super funny all around amazing husband, father, son, brother and friend. His life was tragically taken this week and although all of us that cared about him can't fill the void his absence leaves we can help monetarily with the costs an unexpected devastating loss like this can be on the family. Please donate whatever you can to help Jo Ann and her family through this terrible traumatic time.