BOZEMAN — Zachary Christopher Antikainen of Bozeman has been charged for allegedly tampering with or fabricating evidence in a case of missing Bozeman teen Gaberielle Harding.
Antikainen, 18, was seen in Gallatin County Justice Court on Thursday morning and is being held on $10,000 bail.
According to charging documents, on Sunday, January 26, Antikainen submitted an email tip to Bozeman Crime Tips about the disappearance of 16-year old Harding.
Harding was last seen in the area of West Babcock Street and North 24th Avenue in Bozeman, on January 20. Harding weighs 143 pounds, is 5 feet 7 inches tall, with blue/brown hair and blue eyes.
Antikainen reportedly admitted to using the name “Tyler Watson” and submitted the tip using the email address email@example.com. He told investigators that the name and email were fake, and said the tip describing Harding’s abduction were false. He also allegedly admitted that the name “Tyler Watson” was himself and he had described himself as the suspect in the tip.
The false description he provided to the tip line indicated Antikainen threatened Harding with a knife near the location of “West Babcock and North 24th” and forced her into his vehicle. Antikainen (pretending to be “Tyler Watson”) described himself, his residence, and phone number, and identified Harding from the pictures released to the public through the media.
Sergeant Joseph Swanson of the Bozeman Police Department told MTN News that the tip was investigated and appears to be false at this time. His department is following several leads into Harding’s disappearance at this time.
According to the prosecutor there may be additional misdemeanors forthcoming for making false reports.
Authorities don't know what Harding was last wearing and if she is on foot or in a vehicle. Her disappearance continues to be investigated, and anyone with information regarding Gaberielle’s whereabouts is asked to call Detective Scott McCormick at 406- 582-2957 or call Crimestoppers at 406-586-1131, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.