The Billings Police Department is working with Gallatin County authorities in investigating three deaths that occurred in Billings and West Yellowstone on Thursday.
Officers in Billings arrived a home on the 1000 block of Avenue B as part of a welfare check at 1:16 p.m., according to a press release from BPD Lt. Brandon Wooley. They found a 64-year-old woman dead, and her body showed signs of trauma.
Yellowstone County Deputy Coroner Rich Hoffman identified the woman as Roxann Renee Watson, a resident of Billings. Watson died of strangulation and multiple blunt force injuries. There is no indication when exactly Watson was killed, Hoffman said.
The Investigation Division was called to the scene. Following a search of the residence, detectives identified two people of interest who they wanted to find for questioning. Billings police issued information regarding the two people, along with a vehicle they may be driving, to all law enforcement agencies in Montana.
At around 10:30 that night, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office joined several other agencies in a chase of the suspected vehicle in the West Yellowstone area, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office. The two people in the vehicle left on foot near the intersection Highway 287 and Highway 191, spurring a shelter-in-place order for local residents.
“Law enforcement heard two gunshots shortly after the suspects had entered the wooded area. Ultimately, the suspects were located deceased near Duck Creek,” read the statement from GCSO, which was posted to social media.
The shelter-in-place order has since been lifted, and the agencies who responded to the pursuit included the National Park Service, West Yellowstone Police Department, U.S. Forest Service, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Game Wardens, Montana Highway Patrol and the Bozeman Police Department.
The Gallatin County Coroner has not released names of the two people chased near Duck Creek, and the official cause of their death has not been determined.
The death of Roxann Watson is at least the fifth homicide investigated by Billings police in 2021. In early March, 29-year-old Terrin Oldcrow died of a gunshot wound to the torso. A 31-year-old man has since been charged with deliberate homicide in Oldcrow's death.
Gazette reporter Phoebe Tollefson contributed to this article.