BILLINGS - An eastern Montana woman reported a man tried to abduct her while she was stopped along the highway and made a threat that appeared to refer to a missing teacher who is now confirmed dead, Rosebud County officials said Friday.
Undersheriff Arlan Thingvold said the woman told officers she was stopped near a weigh station on a frontage road east of Forsyth Thursday afternoon when a man came up to her door, pulled out a fish fillet knife that looked like it had blood on it and said, "You need to come with me or you'll end up like that (woman) on TV," the woman reported.
The motorist, who lives in the area, believed he was referring to Sidney teacher Sherry Arnold, who was confirmed dead Friday. Arnold was reported missing on Jan. 7 when she didn't return from a morning jog.
The woman told officers she told the man to wait while she got her cigarettes, then reached down and pulled out a gun, Thingvold told The Billings Gazette. The woman said the man left without saying anything and drove off to the west in a 1980s faded red Chevrolet panel van.
The woman said the encounter happened between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday. She reported it around 7 p.m. Thursday. Thingvold said he did not know why she waited so long to make the report, but he told the Gazette the department is taking it seriously.
Thingvold does not believe the case is related to Arnold's disappearance.
"We have nothing to point that way," he said.
The woman described the would-be abductor as being 6 feet, 5 inches tall, weighing between 250 and 300 pounds with red curly hair and a full beard. She said the man had green and blue tattoos on his forearms, including an outline of an eagle in blue ink with USA underneath.
The sheriff's office sent out a report on the incident to agencies in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.