NewsMontana and Regional News


Body of missing woman recovered in Lincoln County

Drowning - Generic
Posted at 10:36 AM, Jul 01, 2024

GREAT FALLS — The body of a kayaker who was reported missing near Kootenai Falls in the Libby area last week has been recovered.

Jessica Prado was reported missing in the river at about 8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 26, 2024. Prado and Jared Satterlund were in a two-person kayak that capsized just below China Rapids.

Lincoln County Sheriff Darren Short said in a news release that Satterlund tried to help Prado, but he last saw her struggling in an eddy in the river before losing sight of her.

They had made arrangements to be picked up above Kootenai Falls. A dog that accompanied them was able to get out of the river along with Satterlund.


Searchers eventually found a cooler near the shore above Kootenai Falls and the damaged kayak and other property were recovered below the falls.

Sheriff Short said that Prado's body was found and recovered from the Kootenai River at around 8:45 a.m. on Sunday, June 30.

He also noted that the two people were kayaking different sections of the river in the days prior to Wednesday’s incident, and said they were not wearing life vests.

Members of David Thompson Search & Rescue and the Sheriff’s Office combed the river and its banks for three full days and parts of two others before finding her body. Flathead Valley’s Two Bear Air Rescue also responded to assist with the initial search.

This marks the fifth confirmed drowning in Montana in recent days:

LEWIS & CLARK COUNTY: A man who drowned in the Missouri River near Craig last week has been identified as 71-year old Danial Francis Gard.

Lewis & Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said on Tuesday that Gard reportedly went overboard trying to retrieve an oar that went into the water.

craig montana map

Friends were able to pull him back aboard and he was taken to the boat launch in Craig, but efforts to revive Gard were not successful.

Gard’s death has been ruled an accident.

GLACIER COUNTY: The woman who drowned near St. Mary Falls on the east side of Glacier National Park on Sunday, June 23, 2024, has been identified as 26-year-old Gillian Tones from North Apollo, Pennsylvania.

Glacier National Park staff said in a news release on Tuesday that it was first reported that Tones went into the water above St. Mary Falls. Witnesses later clarified that Tones slipped on wet, slick rocks and fell into Virginia Creek between St. Mary and Virginia Falls, about 200 yards above the trail bridge.

St. Mary Falls

Tones was quickly swept up by the cold, fast moving water and went over a series of smaller waterfalls, then was pinned underwater by a log for several minutes until heroic efforts by other park visitors led to pulling her from the river. Park dispatch received numerous 911 calls routed through Glacier County dispatch at approximately 5:20 pm. Park rangers were on the scene by approximately 5:45 pm. ALERT helicopter landed nearby at about 6:20 pm.

Despite resuscitation efforts by bystanders, park rangers, ambulance personnel and ALERT helicopter medics, Tones never regained consciousness and was declared dead by ALERT personnel at about 7 pm.

FLATHEAD COUNTY: 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.

RAVALLI COUNTY: A 76-year-old man died after being thrown from a raft into the Bitterroot River on Monday, June 24, 2024. Ravalli County Sheriff Steve Holton says Roger Lee Booth of Charleston, West Virginia, drowned in the incident, which happened near Woodside Cutoff just east of Corvallis in western Montana.

The accident happened when a raft that Booth was fishing from hit a bridge support pillar and overturned, throwing the three people into the river, according to a news release. Sheriff Holton says first responders reached the victim and provided emergency medical care, but Booth died at the scene.

The two other men thrown from the raft were able to make it to shore safely.

LIBERTY COUNTY: In addition, there has been a suspected drowning in Lake Elwell. Kendall Danna of Great Falls, 17 years old, was one of four people who was paddle-boarding at the lake on Saturday, June 16.

As they were crossing the lake, the weather got bad, resulting in waves up to five feet high and winds gusting to 40 miles per hour. Three of the people made it to safety or were later rescued by first-responders, but Kendall has not yet been found.

lake elwell map

As the search continues, a GoFundMe has been created by a family member. It states: "Kendall has been missing in lake Elwell since Saturday 6/16/24, search and rescue have not given up on finding her. We are trying to help raise money for services and funds for the family when she is found, to help in these trying times. We appreciate all the help and prayers." Click here if you would like to donate.

Among the agencies participating in the search are the Toole County Sheriff's Office, Liberty County Sheriff's Office, Cascade County Sheriff's Office, personnel from Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, US Border Patrol, and Two Bear Air.

Also assisting in the search is drone operator iFlyBigSky, who posted the following message last week: "Today true Montanans worked together to locate and bring home our young Princess Kendall Danna. Unfortunately we weren’t able to locate her, but I promise you we have the best of the best trying to locate her."

On Tuesday, June 25, MTN News contacted the Toole County Sheriff's Office for an update; they replied that any new information will be posted on their Facebook page.