MISSOULA — It’s been two months since Rebekah Barsotti was last seen. She was last seen on July 20 when she went hiking along the Clark Fork River in Mineral County along with her dog Cerberus. Cerberus was found dead several days later about ten miles downstream from where Mineral County Sheriff Mike Toth believes both went into the water. The dog’s remains are being analyzed to determine a cause of death.
After reporting Rebekah missing the following day, her parents made the trek to Montana from their home in Virginia. They've been here since, tirelessly fighting to find their daughter.
During a vigil in Missoula Monday night, Rebekah’s mom, Angela Mostrovito, fought back tears as she described the weeks since she last talked to her daughter.
“It’s like a tornado, tsunami, hurricane...all rolled into one. I have days where I can pull it together and do what I need to do, and then there are other days I'm nothing, I'm just a puddle,” said Mostrovito.
Captain Bill Burt of the Missoula County Sheriff's Office said, “Somewhere around 2,000 man hours have been put into it from our search and rescue team, and at least another 2,000 hours from assisting agencies. We've just really come up empty in the rivers, and unless we have a really good indication or place to search on land, land searches are just so vast and so sporadic, it's hard just to pick a place to go without a good reason."
Burt told MTN News that just about every bit of evidence suggests that Rebekah was involved in a river accident.
Her parents want people to know that Rebekah was more than a girl caught in a tragic accident. “She doesn't wear hardly any makeup. Nothing you know, but her beauty from inside...it just radiates out. She's kind, she's humble, she's compassionate. She is determined.”
Rebekah was determined to stick it out through challenging times. At times, she was determined to a fault.
During the vigil, Mostrovito shared stories of a woman who survived domestic violence. In the crowd, Rebekah's story struck home with some, and leaders of the YWCA shared guidance and resources.
“I'm here to tell her story, and I want good to come out of it. This is a horrible thing, but hopefully good will come out of it, and if we can bring good to the community and other people in this community, then so be it,” said Mostrovito.
Several agencies from Flathead County to Wisconsin have assisted in the search, canvassing at least 18 miles of river.
“As long as there's a reason to be out there and to be looking, we're going to continue to do it, and more so, so that they don't have to go back to Virginia not knowing,” said Burt. “We're going to do everything we can.”
Anyone with information about Barsotti's whereabouts is asked to call the Mineral County Sheriff's Office at 406-822-3555.