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Retired N.D. doctor missing in Montana - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Retired N.D. doctor missing in Montana

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Dr. Patrick J. Fitzpatrick, 74, of Bismarck abandoned his vehicle as early as Friday afternoon. Dr. Patrick J. Fitzpatrick, 74, of Bismarck abandoned his vehicle as early as Friday afternoon.
Pea field where Fitzpatrick's vehicle was found (MTN News photo) Pea field where Fitzpatrick's vehicle was found (MTN News photo)
THREE FORKS -

The Gallatin County Search and Rescue team is fighting the clock, looking for a missing man from Bismarck, N.D.  

The search is going on in the Willow Creek area south of Three Forks. Lt. Jason Jarrett with the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office said a vehicle and small camper belonging to Dr. Patrick J. Fitzpatrick, 74, was found abandoned next to a pea field on July 4.

"He's a photographer and spends time in Yellowstone ecosystem and around Bozeman area so it's not unusual for him to be here. It's unusual for him to disappear," said Jarrett.

Jarrett said Fitzpatrick's family knew he would be in Montana, but did not know what his plans might have been.

The vehicle was stuck at the end of a private dirt road in a pea field. It was also less than a mile from the nearest house.

Kathy Potts and her husband manage the property and found the vehicle Saturday.  

"We were heading out for a picnic and we saw a vehicle across the valley. When we got back to the house it was still there so my husband went up and investigated it. There was a window open but no keys in the vehicle. It was abandoned," said Kathy Potts.

Jarrett said they believe Fitzpatrick got stuck sometime Friday afternoon or night. The irrigation pivot had gone through and the road was wet and muddy.

Kathy said she and her husband have not seen Fitzpatrick, but they might have heard him.

"My husband said, 'did you hear something this morning?' I said yeah, I thought I heard somebody walking on the deck," said Kathy Potts.

But by the time her husband got to the door to check, there was no one around. Kathy Potts said they get requests from people to fish the area and assumed it was just a fisherman, until they found the vehicle.   

Jarrett said they have no evidence Fitzpatrick was on the porch, but it is possible. They continue to search by air and land.  

Officials say there is no evidence of foul play but they are not ruling anything out. Fitzpatrick is described as 6 feet tall and weighs more than 220 pounds. He has white hair and a goatee, and speaks with an Irish accent. 

If you know anything about his whereabouts you're asked to call the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office at 582-2100.

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