The Cascade County Sheriff/Coroner on Wednesday identified Joann Malone as the woman who was shot and killed in Great Falls last week.
Sheriff Jesse Slaughter said that an autopsy performed on March 20 determined the cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds, and the manner of death of homicide.
Malone was shot and killed at a home in the West Hill neighborhood on Friday, March 17, 2023.
Malone was the founder of Seeking Recovery in Great Falls.
Shortly after her death, the following message was posted on the Seeking Recovery website:
It is with an extremely heavy heart that we have to announce the passing of our friend, CEO, and business owner Joann Malone. We ask for privacy in this time of mourning. Please rest assured that Joann's mission to help the community will continue. Seeking Recovery will continue in her honor.
The suspect in the murder sped away from the crime scene in Great Falls and was seen driving a black GMC truck. At about 7:45 p.m., a Pondera County Sheriff’s deputy found the truck on Highway 44 near Conrad. When deputies tried to contact the suspect, he drove away heading west and deputies began chasing after him.
Pondera County Sheriff Robert Skorupa told KRTV on Saturday: "At approximately 7:30 yesterday evening, we were contacted about a homicide that took place in Great Falls. The dispatcher had received some information and called our deputies. They had a pretty good description of the vehicle. My Valier deputy went to Conrad to talk with the dispatcher."
He continued, "On his way there, he noticed a vehicle off of (Highway) 44 parked. At that moment, he didn't know the description, so he went into Conrad to talk to dispatch. He said, 'That vehicle is parked on 44, about mile marker 25.' The Conrad deputy and himself came down and found the vehicle that was still there. They came to approach the vehicle and it started onto 44 Westbound."
Sheriff Skorupa said speeds were reasonable until mile marker 13, when the suspect brandished a revolver and shot two rounds at the deputies.
The chase went into the town of Valier and stopped at the Valier Pavilion boat ramp where deputies were able to block his escape.
Sheriff Skorupa said that deputies and negotiators tried for three hours to get the suspect to surrender peacefully, but at about 11 p.m., he died after shooting himself.
Although the name of the suspect has not yet been released by officials, it's believed that he and Malone knew each other, and this was not a random crime.
We will update you when we get more information.
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