FBI: No connection between Arnold case, oil field worker's death

2012-01-25T14:35:00Z 2014-08-25T14:27:47Z FBI: No connection between Arnold case, oil field worker's deathBy GREG TUTTLE gtuttle@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

A spokeswoman for the FBI said Wednesday that authorities are not aware of any connection between the abduction of Sidney school teacher Sherry Arnold and the suspicious death of an oil field worker.

The body of 49-year-old Brian Doyle was found Jan. 20 in a ditch along U.S. Highway 2 near Bainville.

Arnold has been missing since Jan. 7, although two men have been charged with her kidnapping. 

Roosevelt County Sheriff Freedom Crawford identified Doyle on Wednesday as a resident of Florida who until two weeks ago worked for a North Dakota oil field maintenance company.

In a press release, Crawford said "foul play has not been ruled out" by authorities investigating Doyle's death.

Crawford did not release any more information, including how Doyle died and how long he may have been dead.

Crawford did announce the creation of a tip line and asked the public to send any information about Doyle's death to www.rcso17.org.

Meanwhile, the search continues for Arnold's body in the same general area where Doyle's body was found.

Arnold, a 43-year-old math teacher, was abducted in her hometown of Sidney on Jan. 7 while on an early morning run.

Lester Waters Jr., 47, and Michael Spell, 22, were arrested Jan. 13 and are being held in Williston, N.D. awaiting extradition proceedings, scheduled for Feb. 14. Both men have been charged in Sidney City Court with aggravated kidnapping.

The FBI, which is leading the investigation into Arnold's abduction, has released little information about the suspects or the recent efforts to find Arnold's body.

Last week, the agency requested that landowners in three North Dakota counties and in northeastern Montana check their property for disturbed ground, possibly in a location with mature or rotten trees. 

Public records show Waters formerly lived in Florida, where he has an extensive criminal history. The FBI has identified both men as Colorado residents.

Doyle's body was discovered 13 days after Arnold's abduction.

Waters and Doyle both have ties to Florida, but that appears to be the end of any connection between the two cases.  

"I am not aware of a connection," FBI spokeswoman Deborah Bertram said Wednesday.

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