Prosecutors said the body of a woman killed inside a Billings residence was found inside a suitcase by her teenage son.
Charging documents filed later Monday against Terrell Lee Spotted Wolf revealed gruesome details about the woman's murder that police first described as a "suspicious death."
Spotted Wolf, 30 years old, was charged Monday afternoon with deliberate homicide during an initial appearance in Justice Court.
He is accused of murdering a 48-year-woman prosecutors only identified in court documents by the initials S. L., although family members identified the victim as Susan LaForge.
Prosecutors said the crime first surfaced on February 28 when a teenage boy identified in court records by the single initial "L" called police to report he had found a body in a suitcase inside the family's home on 12th Street West and he feared the body was his mother.
Officers said that during an initial search of the house they found blood stains in a bedroom and observed a large suitcase. Officers and medical personnel opened the suitcase and found LaForge's body inside.
Three juveniles, including LaForge's teenage son "L", who is 13 or 14 years old, according to court records, were at the residence when officers arrived. "L" was upset and crying, court records state, and told officers that his mother and her boyfriend, Spotted Wolf had gotten into an argument on Sunday, two days prior to the body being discovered.
During the investigation, police detectives searched the residence and said they found LaForge's body "folded into a large suitcase" placed near the garage, which had been converted into a room, court records state.
Blood was found in the master bedroom, where detectives also noted broken shelving and a large broken mirror, court records state. The room also smelled heavily of cleaning products.
Detectives also saw a mop containing blood in the master bedroom, court records state, and they noted a blood trail from the bedroom through the living room and into the kitchen where they found a pair of size 11 shoes with blood on the toe and shoelaces.
Detectives also noted that "furniture and other items appeared to have been moved to cover up some blood stains," court records state.
Detectives also noted they found numerous items in a large garbage bin outside the kitchen entry door, including broken glass, women's jewelry, a clump of black hair, a broken man's watch, a broken gold chain, and a towel with blood stains.
An autopsy determined LaForge suffered blunt force trauma to the arms and head.
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(1st REPORT) A man arrested last week in connection to a Billings murder case appeared in court Monday on an unrelated felony drug charge.
Terrell Lee Spotted Wolf, 30, appeared in Yellowstone County District Court by video from the county jail and pleaded not guilty to a felony drug possession charge filed in 2021. The case also includes misdemeanor counts of possessing drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and driving while privileges revoked. Bond was set at $10,000.
Spotted Wolf was arrested last Thursday by the Billings Police Street Crimes Unit in connection to the February. 28 death of a 48-year-old woman whose body was discovered in a residence on 12th Street West. Police initially described the woman's death as suspicious, then the next day said they determined she was a homicide victim.
Authorities have not released the woman's name, but family members identified the victim as Susan LaForge.
During the court hearing Monday a prosecutor told a judge that an affidavit of probable cause related to a pending deliberate homicide charge against Spotted Wolf had been filed, but clerks in both the Yellowstone County Clerk of District Court office and the Yellowstone County Justice Court said they had no record of the document.
The drug and driving charges from 2021 stemmed from a traffic stop after a Montana Highway Patrol trooper spotted a vehicle on King Avenue West at 11:54 p.m. with expired registration. The trooper said in court records he stopped the vehicle and arrested the driver after he failed a field sobriety test and later allegedly admitted to ingesting meth.