NewsMontana and Regional News


Human remains tentatively identified as missing Missoula man

Phillip Mathew Stokey
Posted at 6:06 PM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 20:06:42-04

STEVENSVILLE — The Ravalli County Sheriff's Office says the human remains found in the Bitterroot National Forest on Monday, July 25, 2022, are likely those of Philip Matthew Stokey of Missoula.

Sheriff Steve Holton said the human remains found in the Selway Wilderness Monday night have been tentatively identified as Stokey.

Stokey, 37 years old at the time, was the subject of an intense search and rescue operation in August of 2020 but was never found.

Sheriff Holton stated said a Forest Service Trail Crew discovered the remains Monday night and notified the RCSO.

Investigators hiked in Tuesday morning and found the scene about five miles from the Bass Creek Trailhead.

After processing the scene and recovering the remains, Sheriff Holton said they are confident in the identity due to the evidence that was recovered.

He said the RCSO will work with the Montana State Crime Lab to confirm the identity and determine the cause and manner of death.

Sheriff Holton added, "Our prayers continue to be with the Stokey family. We were happy to bring Phillip home and while we hope this information helps bring a little closure for them, we understand that it is hard news for anyone to hear."

(AUGUST 28, 2020) The search for a missing Missoula man in the Bitterroot is being suspended.

The Ravalli County Sheriff's Office says the search and rescue efforts for Philip Mathew Stokey, 37, of Missoula continued this week in the Bass Creek area south and west of Florence.

Searchers have spent nearly 400 man-hours into locating Stokey since Aug. 13. Ravalli County Search and Rescue volunteers had provided over 170 hours since August 13 and Two Bear Air have assisted with nearly 40 hours of aviation time.

Other agencies assisting with the search efforts have been Missoula County Search and Rescue K9, True North Search Dogs, and Valley County (ID) K9, as well as Choice Aviation and Minuteman Aviation.

Searchers have exhausted all potential leads and no further search operations are planned unless new information is discovered, according to a news release. The Ravalli County Sheriff's Office is asking hikers and hunters in the area to notify them anything out of the ordinary or suspicious is noticed.

Additional searches will be conducted if new evidence or information is discovered, according to the Sheriff's Office.