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Sheriff: the search for Amy Harding continues

Posted at 5:30 PM, Jan 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 19:45:06-05

GREAT FALLS — The investigation into the disappearance of Amy Harding-Permann continues in Great Falls.

The 34-year old woman was last seen leaving a house at 343 Flood Road on foot at about 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 26th. On Monday, Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter said that Harding reportedly got into an argument with her boyfriend John VanGilder at the residence. She then allegedly assaulted him before leaving the house and headed in the direction of the Missouri River, which is very close to the house. Slaughter said that search crews were called out quickly because Harding was not dressed for the weather; temperatures at the time were in the 30s, with wind-chills below freezing. He explained, "At the point that our initial search did not find her, due to the weather conditions, her not being dressed appropriately and due to the environment and conditions we were in, she was a missing person."

Late Friday afternoon, Sheriff Slaughter said in a Facebook post: "I’ve been receiving phones calls regarding a rumor the we’ve found Amy Harding. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we have not yet located her. Please understand that I know how much everyone is invested in this investigation and when we find Amy, you will here it from me immediately."

On Thursday, January 30, Sheriff Slaughter said in an email: "We are currently bringing in multiple resources from multiple agencies to assist us." In order to protect the integrity of the investigation, Slaughter said the names of the agencies are not being released at this time, nor are any other details of the investigation. At the time, Slaughter said he hopes to release more information sometime next week.

On Wednesday, January 29, an estimated 185 volunteers showed up at Faith Lutheran Church after the Sheriff's Office put out a call for help in the continuing search. The volunteers were told to arrive before 7:30 a.m., and were given a briefing of the situation and the general area, and provided with search and safety instructions. They were then sent out in groups to cover designated areas. Sheriff Slaughter says that the volunteers searched all of the designated areas, and were released before 1 p.m.

On Tuesday, January 28,, Sheriff Slaughter declined to release details of any possible criminal investigation, and stressed that at this point, it remains a missing person investigation. However, KRTV has learned that the house has been secured by law enforcement since the investigation began.

Searchers and detectives from the Sheriff's office, Great Falls Police Department, Malmstrom Air Force Base, and rural fire departments have searched on the ground, in the river, and in the air with a helicopter and drone. Search dogs are also being used.

JANUARY 27: Great Falls woman reported missing
JANUARY 28: Volunteers needed to help search for Amy
JANUARY 29: Volunteers help search for Amy Harding
JANUARY 30: "Multiple agencies" working to find Amy Harding