BILLINGS — Authorities suspect homicide as cause of death of a female found dead east of Laurel Wednesday evening, Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder said Thursday.
Linder added that he can't confirm the body is Lori Bray, a Laurel woman reported missing earlier this week. A search for her has been suspended because Linder said it likely would yield no new results.
He told Q2 News that investigators have questioned several people and are obtaining search warrants for phones and surveillance cameras from businesses and residences in the Laurel area. No arrests have been made, he said.
An autopsy is scheduled for Friday morning, and a medical examiner will determine the ID of the body, Linder said. The body was found by an ATV rider in a wooded area near the intersection of Yard Office Road and Ridge Drive.
Bray was last seen leaving the Cedar Ridge Casino at 315 S. First Ave. at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. Her vehicle was found later that morning at the intersection of Buffalo Trail Road and Laurel Airport Road near the Yellowstone National Cemetery.
Searchers combed the area Wednesday but did not find Bray. On Wednesday night, the body was discovered about two miles away from the search area.
This is a developing story.
Here is Linder's full statement:
"The body mentioned in my last update was found by a man riding his ATV in the wooded area near the intersection of Yard Office Road and Ridge Drive.
This incident is being investigated as a homicide and Detectives finished processing the scene at about noon today. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday morning. I cannot confirm the body is that of Lori Bray until I have confirmation from the medical examiner one way or the other. In the meantime, our search has been put on hold, as we do not believe continuing the search will yield any new results. I will forward information about the identification as soon I receive the results. The investigation is continuing."