Body of Missing Doctor Found
Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue have recovered the remains of Dr. Patrick J. Fitzpatrick, of Bismarck, N.D. His vehicle was discovered stuck in a field south of Willow Creek on July 4, 2015.
At that time searchers combed the area for four days but were unable to find him. Gallatin County Sheriff investigators received multiple leads and sightings over the next few months of 2015, all of which were followed up by authorities.
Over the next couple of years, the Sheriff’s Office, with search and rescue volunteers, continued to look over data and develop new search plans. In March 2017, a large ground search covered areas north of the vehicle, this included divers who searched Willow Creek and a nearby pond but nothing was found.
Last month search and rescue officials tried again and on and Saturday, April 28, dozens of searchers, dogs, and several GCSO deputies covered the area again. A bloodhound found Dr. Fitzgerald’s remains approximately a mile east of his vehicle on a rolling hillside, in a spot that hid it from view from any distance.
Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said, “We are pleased that we could bring Dr. Fitzpatrick’s family some closure. The state medical examiner’s office will perform the examination of the remains but at this time, there is no indication of foul play. Missing person investigations are very difficult. We used every tool we had and even used some technology from Bridger Aerospace without success but we never gave up. Hundreds of man hours were expended on this case and I want to thank the Search and Rescue volunteers for their dedication.”
Gallatin Media and the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office contributed to this story.