BILLINGS — The woman whose body was found near Laurel on Wednesday has been identified as 57-year-old Lori Bray.
Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder announced the news on Friday. Medical records were used in the identification.
Bray was last seen leaving the Cedar Ridge Casino at 315 S. First Avenue at 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Her vehicle was found later that morning at the intersection of Buffalo Trail Road and Laurel Airport Road near the Yellowstone National Cemetery. Searchers combed the area Wednesday but did not find Bray. On Wednesday night, her body was discovered about two miles away from the search area. The body was found by an ATV rider in a wooded area near the intersection of Yard Office Road and Ridge Drive.
The case has shaken some residents in and around Laurel, and some people have expressed concerns on social media there could be a killer walking the streets.
Linder told MTN News that if detectives had enough evidence, they would have someone in custody. Regardless, that doesn't mean people should let their guard down. He said that whether the killer is a local or someone passing through town, Laurel has its fair share of crime. People should always remain vigilant of their surroundings, he said. Linder recommended people leaving work should leave with someone else or have someone watch them to the car.
Because this is an ongoing investigation, authorities are not releasing the cause of Bray's death at this point. Linder said that, sometimes, publicly releasing the cause of death brings forward false leads and confessions from people who are not tied to the crime.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact that Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office at 406-256-2929.
(OCTOBER 2, 2019) The Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office is investigating the circumstances of a missing Laurel woman. Lt. Dan Paris on Wednesday confirmed an "active investigation" is underway involving the disappearance of Lori Bray, but he declined to release any further information.
A friend of the missing woman, Shannon Strong Martin, said Bray was last seen on video surveillance leaving her workplace at Cedar Ridge Casino in Laurel at 12:25 a.m. on Tuesday. Her car was later found abandoned on Laurel Airport Road.
Martin said friends will be gathering at the nearby Laurel Cemetery on Wednesday morning to form search parties.
Martin said in a Facebook post : "Her friends and family are worried — she would NEVER leave her dogs, they are her world. Someone has to know something, no lead is too small. And I ask that everyone please pray that she is found safe."
We will update you if we get more information.