The man whose body was found in the Missouri River in Great Falls on Thursday has been identified as Leon Simpson.
Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter said in a news release on Friday that Simpson, 74 years old, lived in Great Falls. The investigation by the Sheriff's Office determined the cause of death was drowning and the manner of death was accidental.
At about 3:20 p.m. on Thursday, deputies were dispatched to Rainbow Dam boat launch for a report of a man who had drowned. Officers with the Montana Highway Patrol and Cascade County Sheriff's Office recovered the body from the river.
Sheriff Slaughter said that Simpson often fished this part of the river, and he was not wearing a life jacket at the time; he also said that Simpson's boat floated away to the opposite shore, and FWP secured it prior to the arrival of search and recovery personnel.
According to Slaughter, Simpson served as the Chief of Police in Conrad from 1980-1987, and he was the Sheriff of Pondera County from 1987-2004. Ginny Marden told KRTV that Simpson also served as the assistant police chief in Shelby before going to Conrad. Ginny added: "I worked with him there. Great guy!"
Simpon's daughter posted on Facebook: "For those who haven’t heard heaven gained a beautiful angel today.... my dad Leon passed away today totally unexpectedly...he died doing something he loved and that was fishing. He fell out of his boat and drowned today in the river he loved so much! Please keep us all in ur prayers! RIP dad u will forever be missed by many"
(THURSDAY, AUGUST 27) A body was recovered from the Missouri River in Great Falls on Thursday, according to Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter.
Sheriff Slaughter did not say exactly where the body was found. There is no word yet on the identity of the person, nor how long the body has been in the river.
Authorities do not yet know if the body is that of a man who reportedly jumped from the Warden Bridge along 10th Avenue South on Monday evening.
Several Great Falls police officers and firefighters were dispatched to the area on Monday after receiving reports of a person jumping into the river; several people driving by reported that they saw the man jump.
The emergency personnel did not find anyone in the water or along the shore in the areas at the time.
Lt. Doug Otto of the Great Falls Police Department said at the time that there were no active missing person reports at this time from anyone in the community.