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Missing Lincoln County man found dead near Huson Peak

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
Hagadone News Network | December 13, 2023 2:00 PM

Johnnie Lee Hantz, 72, who was reported missing on Nov. 29, was found dead Tuesday by a citizen in the Huson Peak area off Quartz Creek Road north of Libby, according to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.

County dispatch received a 911 call at 10:01 p.m. Tuesday from a caller who reported finding Hantz’s CanAm side-by-side and that the man was deceased. The caller also reported that the man’s dog, Chester, was alive and took him to the Sheriff’s Office. 

Deputies responded and secured the scene for further investigation. The Sheriff’s Office notified the family and the investigation is ongoing.

Hantz was last seen leaving Libby on Nov. 28, driving northbound on Montana 37 in a camo-colored CanAm, traveling with his Mastiff dog, Chester. 

Members of David Thompson Search and Rescue and deputies from the Sheriff’s Office searched areas known to be frequented by Hantz, but reported no signs of him or the dog as of Dec. 4. 

Air resources were contacted but could not assist in the search due to weather.

Hantz has gone missing in the area previously.

According to a The Western News report, he went missing in March 2021. Following a day of search and rescue operations on March 24, 2021, authorities found Hantz in safe condition in the Barron Creek drainage late in the afternoon.