Investigators have new leads in Sanders County cold-case murder

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
Lake County Leader | October 11, 2020 4:15 AM

Western Montana law enforcement officials said a joint investigation into the murder of a Sander County man has developed new leads.

According to information from the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribe, its investigators are questioning two people of interest in the death of 49-year-old William Patrick Conko Camel, who was shot and killed in Sanders County near Dixon two years ago.

Both people are in custody on other charges.

The case began at about 11 p.m. Oct. 5, 2018, when Camel was shot to death on Frank McClure Street in Agency, just north of Dixon.

Sanders County was assisted in the initial investigation by Tribal Police, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the Montana Highway Patrol.

According to a press release from Sanders County Attorney Naomi Leisz, Det. Martin Spring of the Sanders County Sheriff Department has conducted a thorough investigation despite the challenges presented by the circumstances of the case. Although it has been two years since Camel's death, the case remains an active and ongoing homicide investigation.

According to media reports, the county Sheriff's Office issued a press release saying it had identified three persons of interest and was trying to find them. Investigators said there was no threat to the public, but no arrests have been made.

Other reports detailed efforts by Conko Camel's family to find his killer.

When Preston Rossbach was arrested in connection with a double murder at a Missoula hotel a few weeks after Camel's death, Camel family members attended his arraignment and alleged the suspect was also involved in Camel's death.

Rossbach recently was sentenced to 60 years for his involvement in the double murder after a jury found him guilty earlier this year.

On July 16, Spring reached out to CSKT officials to request assistance with the investigation. CSKT Chief of Police Craige Couture has pledged that the Tribal Police will help in any way they can.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to call Det. Spring at 406-827-6936 or CSKT Investigator Les Clairmont at 406-675-2700, ext. 1190. Information can be provided anonymously by calling Det. Spring at 406-880-1571 or CSKT Detective Vernon Fisher at 406-675-4700 or 249-6014.