Reports: Runner hit by car, driver hid body
In a very brief news conference, Sidney, Montana, police chief Frank DiFonzo has provided scant details on what led to the disappearance and death of 43-year-old Sherry Arnold, who left her home for a run Saturday morning and never returned.
DiFonzo spoke briefly at the Richland County Justice Center before about three dozen people, many of them local residents looking for more information about the sad story. All he could confirm is that two men are in custody, one, a 47-year-old man, is under arrest and being held in a jail in Williston, North Dakota. The other man is a 22-year-old being questioned, but not under arrest at this point. He’s being detained in Rapid City, South Dakota.
The FBI has released this statement on it’s investigation into the case.
Officials at the school where she worked as a math teacher have dismissed classes early, provided counselors to students and cancelled sports activities scheduled for today.
Private prayer services for school staff were slated for Friday afternoon at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Sidney, and a multi-denominational service for the community has been scheduled for 7pm Friday evening at the high school gym.
There is unconfirmed information coming from Sidney that her body was found today and that two suspects, both males, stepped forward. Again unconfirmed, is that that the two men were in a car that struck Arnold while she was running and then attempted to cover up the mishap.
DiFonzo has said that he would not take questions or speak further at this point because the investigation is “moving too rapidly.”
For days, only a single running shoe provided any clue as to her whereabouts.
Arnold has been described as a beloved teacher and “daughter of the community,” a small city of about 5,000 people in the northeast corner of Montana near the North Dakota border. The city has recently seen an influx of newcomers as people have moved in to take advantage of jobs connected to a regional oil boom.
The incident has shaken the small town, where reports say people have been buying pepper spray, cancelling plans for outdoor activities alone and generally altering their daily routines.
Hundreds of residents volunteered to search for Arnold in the days following her disappearance. Until the anonymous tip came to the FBI, the strange disappearance threw the town, the students and her family into a spin.
Billings TV station KTVQ reached the oldest daughter of Gary Arnold, Sherry’s husband. Her name is Karen Arnold Truax, who told the station the family is “trying to wrap their heads around this tragedy.” Traux told KTVQ that the days since her disapparance has been “grueling…” and that “…the answer we got was not the answer we were hoping and praying for.”
Truax said the family expresses thanks to the community and beyond for supporting them during this ordeal.
The Runner’s Vibe will provide updates as information is forthcoming.