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Fleeing fugitive from North Carolina drowns in Montana

Warrants for burglary, theft of services, and sexual battery against a child
Flathead County Sheriff's Office (file photo)
Posted at 6:08 PM, Jun 26, 2024

KALISPELL — A fugitive wanted in North Carolina drowned last week while running from law enforcement in officers Flathead County.

The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office reports they received information on June 20, 2024, that 35-year old Steven Jeffrey O’Shields of Franklin, North Carolina might be in the Kalispell and Evergreen areas.

O’Shields had felony warrants for his arrest on several charges including burglary, theft of services, and sexual battery against a child, according to a news release.

O’Shields was also reported as a non-compliant sexual offender.

According to a news release, law enforcement wasn’t able to find O’Shields but then received a tip at about 7 p.m. on June 21 that O’Shields was on foot at the Big Creek Campground in the North Fork area.

Deputies responded to the area and saw O’Shields walking south on the North Fork Road, near mile marker 11.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, O’Shields ran into the woods heading toward the Flathead River.

Deputies saw O’Shields wading into the river and then struggling to stay above water.

Officers couldn’t reach O’Shields, who was last seen going around a bend just south of the Glacier Rim.

A search continued for O’Shields whose body was eventually spotted by a Two Bear Air helicopter under the water near the Blankenship Bridge.

North Valley Search & Rescue crews recovered O’Shields’s body, which was taken to the Montana State Lab in Missoula for autopsy.

The Montana Department of Criminal Investigation is currently investigating this incident at the request of the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office.

No other information has been released at this point. We will update you if we get more information.