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Authorities believe the cause of death was due to a grizzly bear attack. This case file will be updated once the cause of death has been determined. Sources state that Craig Clouatre was hiking in the area of Gallatin National Forest. Several sources state that both the Custer and Gallatin National Forest have been managed together since 2014. Therefore, the park connected to this case file will be Custer Gallatin National Forest. Missing NPF is working on updating the "Found Location" for this case file.
"It is with a very heavy heart that I am writing this update," Sheriff Brad Bichler wrote in a statement posted to social media. "After an extensive search this morning we have located Craig. It appears he had an encounter with a grizzly and unfortunately did not survive."
"We will continue to work through the afternoon to bring Craig home," Bichler added. "Please keep his family and all those involved in your thoughts and prayers." According to the Associated Press, Clouatre had ventured out on an off-trail hike in Gallatin National Forest to search for antlers shed by elk and other animals. A friend had accompanied Clouatre on the trip, but the two separated and planned to meet at a rendevous point, a GoFundMe campaign set up for Clouatre said.
Authorities did not plan to track down the bear responsible for Clouatre's death since the attack did not seem predatory and was likely a chance encounter.
"This doesn't appear to be an attack where the bear sought out the person," Bichler told the AP. "It wasn't like the bear came down into a campground and nabbed someone."
Officials are attempting to verify whether a grizzly bear was responsible for the tragedy and are testing hairs found in the area, the outlet reported.
Heartbreakingly, Clouatre's death comes just two years after the family lost "almost everything" in a house fire, family friend Kristin Wachob said on GoFundMe.
"Anyone who has met Craig, had a friend in him," Wachob wrote of Clouatre on the donation page. "He was a man full of joy and kindness."
"And more than anything, he loved his family. He leaves behind a loving wife and four beautiful children," she added.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the GoFundMe page has raised over $102,000.
"The amount of love and support that has been shown has been incredible," Wachob said. "It speaks volumes to who Craig was as a person and how he touched every life he came in contact with."
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40 years old
Sexual Orientation: HETEROSEXUAL
Classification: DAY/NIGHT HIKER
Foul Play Suspected: No
Suspected Suicide: No
Cause of Death: Undetermined / Unreleased
Reported missing on March 24, 2022 - 59 days, 13 hours, 11 minutes ago
Found on March 25, 2022 - 58 days, 13 hours, 11 minutes ago
This case file was posted on
Mar 31, 2022 at 20:34
This case file was last modified on
Mar 31, 2022 at 21:02
This case file has been assigned the Missing Persons ID 7275
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