ALBERTON — Right off of I-90 on mile marker 71 is a popular recreation stop for visitors and locals on the Clark Fork River, and it's where efforts to search for missing Missoula woman Rebekah Barsotti continue.
Barsotti, 34 years old, was last seen on July 20 when she went hiking along the Clark Fork River in Mineral County along with Cerberus, her dog. 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.
Extensive efforts to find her by Flathead, Missoula, and Mineral county search officials haven't yet led to her discovery, community members are stepping up to help.
“Our goal is the safety of the people who are out there searching, and then find Rebekah,” Angela Mastrovito, Barsotti's mother, told MTN News on Saturday morning.
At 9 a.m. , a crowd of community members met at the River’s Edge Resort in Alberton to aid in search and rescue efforts. Mastrovito provided the latest updates from authorities and helped suggest where searchers should look next.
“Yesterday we had had three local people come and participate in search and rescue from the community. Today we've got thirteen, so I'm very very thankful for the people who are coming out to support finding Rebekah,” Mastrovito said.
Recently, authorities have searched in and around the Clark Fork River near Barsotti's last known location - about a 30-mile-wide area. Dogs, scuba divers, and drones have all been utilized.
The team of locals are continuing efforts by focusing on riverbanks.
“If Rebekah came out of the water and got up on a riverbank and with it being so hot, if she was able to she would have crawled to cover. And so, you know, just looking across the river, I can't tell if anybody's under that brush,” Mastrovito said.
More help is welcome for the continued search because of the area's vastness and challenge of the terrain.
“Because there's so much land we need all the people we can get," Mastrovito explained.
One searcher, Melissa Jurasovich, said she came to help because she’s known Barsotti for about a year.
“We want to cover as much as we're able to,” Jurasovich explained, and said that any helping hands available are needed during this time of stretched thin resources.
“With fire season as well, resources and all the areas in Mineral County as well as Missoula are limited, especially aerial, I mean they need those for the fires. So it's really sad and I hope that more people are able to join to join the efforts, but I'm glad people are showing up,” Jurasovich said.
Volunteers plan to gather again on Sunday at the River's Edge Resort in Alberton at 9 a.m. for additional searching. You can contact Mastrovito by phone at 540-834-6131 or via her Facebook page.