Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Since April 11, 2023, the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office and Missoula County Search and Rescue have been coordinating efforts in the search for missing, 18-year-old Joseph Thompson.  Search and Rescue has also been assisting City of Missoula Police Department in the search for Nefataree Bartell. 

According to Public Information Officer Jeannette Smith, Joseph Thompson, also known as Joey, was last seen between the 4–5-mile range on Southside Road.   

“Thompson is described as 6’, 140 pounds with blue eyes and blonde hair,” Smith said. “Members of Missoula County Search and Rescue, Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, and Seeley-Swan Search and Rescue have extensively searched the Southside Road and Deep Creek areas.  Several members have hiked multiple days at various locations, accompanied by canines when available. UTV and ATVs have been utilized where passable routes were available and multiple drones have accessed areas where other means were not available.” 

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Smith said this includes checking cliff edges and areas below them and traversing the nearby Clark Fork River. 

“To date we have recorded 310 miles and 371 search hours,” Smith said. “This is not a comprehensive list as Deputies and Search and Rescue members have search time that has not been included.  Also not included are the hours Two Bear Air aided in the search and the number of drone hours flown. Along with the on-site search, Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Detective Division has investigated events before and after Thompson was reported missing.” 

To date, detectives have found no evidence of criminal activity contributing to his disappearance. 

“Without further evidence to direct our search efforts, Missoula County Sheriff’s Office and Missoula County Search and Rescue has made the decision to reduce resources dedicated to the search of Joseph Thompson,” Smith said. “We ask those that continue to search the area to call 911 immediately to report any item that may be associated with the disappearance.  New evidence would narrow the area of focus and prompt additional search efforts.” 

 According to Smith, Missoula County Search and Rescue is now able to access the Gold Creek area in the search for missing Nefataree Bartell.   

“Bartell was last seen on February 21, 2023,” Smith said. “Weather elements and a large snowpack in the area has been problematic in previous search efforts. Aerial searches have been done in the interim.  With more favorable conditions, Missoula County Search and Rescue has begun a foot and canine search, utilizing other resources where they are most effective. Approximately 206 miles and 309 search hours have been recorded.” 

If you have any information or find information that could lead to the location of either Joseph Thompson or Nefataree Bartell, please call 911 immediately. 

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