Two Parachute men jailed in woman’s disappearance

Gary Arnold of Sidney, Mont., talks about his missing wife,  who did not return from a run on the morning of Jan. 7.

Sherry Arnold

Two Parachute men are in custody in North Dakota in connection with the disappearance of a Montana teacher who authorities say is dead.

Lester Vann Waters Jr, 47, and Michael Keith Spell, 22, were being held Sunday night in the Williams County Correctional Center in Williston, N.D. Williams County sheriff’s deputy Jon Garrison told The Daily Sentinel the two face aggravated kidnapping charges from Richland County, Mont., which is across the state line from Williston, and are awaiting extradition there.

Garrison declined to say how or when Waters and Spell were arrested or release any other information.

Authorities believe the two men are linked to the Jan. 7 disappearance 43-year-old Sherry Arnold of Sidney, Mont., and previously confirmed Arnold is dead. The high school math teacher and mother vanished while on an early morning run along a truck route on the edge of the oil boom town of Sidney in northeast Montana. Searchers found one of Arnold’s running shoes.

The FBI issued a statement Sunday evening asking property owners in northeastern Montana and northwestern North Dakota to check vacant farmsteads and shelter belts — lines of trees that protect soil from the wind — for signs of disturbed soil.

The agency said Arnold’s body may be buried in an area with a line of mature or rotted trees, and the surrounding grass might be matted.

Spell was arrested by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department in 2009 on charges including contributing to the delinquency of a minor and cultivation of marijuana, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records. He was arrested again in 2010 for failing to appear in court on the marijuana charge.

Waters has no arrest record in Colorado, according to the CBI.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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