- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
The Culbertson Lions Club is offering two $500 scholarships to Culbertson High School graduates that have attended one year of college.
The applications can be picked up at the Cul-
bertson High School guidance office or from district superintendent Larry Crowder and are due Dec. 15. Scholarship funds will be paid to colleges on Jan. 1, 2016.
The scholarships have been an annual award since 1987.
- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
(Editor’s Note: The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office distributes an inmate roster each week with charges and communities of residence to The Herald-News and The Searchlight to help keep the public informed and to illustrate that the jail has been dealing with overcrowding issues in the 17-bed facility. Names on the jail roster are those of everyone incarcerated during a specific time period and persons booked into the jail during the previous week and does not necessarily mean there is a new charge or conviction. Some individuals might be serving time for a previous conviction.)
As of Monday, Sept. 14, 14 inmates were housed in the Roosevelt County Jail. Fort Benton Detention Center was holding one male and the Valley County Detention Center Was Holding two females to alleviate overcrowding. The RCSO reported that the following individuals were incarcerated at the jail between Monday, Sept. 7, and Monday, Sept. 14:
•Robert Baird, 24,
Anchorage, Alaska, criminal possession of dangerous drugs;
•Frank Baker, 33, Wolf Point, criminal possession of dangerous drugs;
•Amos Bridges, 39, Wolf Point, criminal contempt warrant;
•Jason Daugherty, 37, Wolf Point, criminal possession of dangerous drugs [two counts], criminal possession of drug paraphernalia, attempted assault on a peace officer or judicial officer and resisting arrest;
•Tyrule Davis, 43, Los Angeles, Calif., assault on peace officer or judicial official;
•Jason Fridge, 30, Williston, N.D., driving under the influence of any drug;
•Terry Holben, 46, Harlem, partner or family member assault - third offense;
•Christopher Hovey, 26, Williston, N.D., out-of- county warrant;
•Kevyn Johannesson, 26, Williston, N.D., fleeing or eluding a peace officer, criminal endangerment and obstructing a peace officer;
•Joseph Laturell, 52, Bainville, partner or family member assault, sexual intercourse without consent and aggravated kidnapping;
•Anthony McClendon, 56, Culbertson, aggravated assault;
•Roy Allen Murray Jr., 30, Portland, Ore., arrested on Oregon felony warrant, driving under the influence - drug, driving a motor vehicle while privilege to do so revoked, operating without liability insurance, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia, criminal possession of dangerous drugs;
•Brett Sandy, 25, Orange, Calif., felony theft;
•Bobby Vondall, 28, Trenton, N.D., speeding, driving under the influence, disorderly conduct;
•Monte Walton, 35, Poplar, endangering the welfare of a child, violation of a protective order, first offense, criminal possession of dangerous drugs and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
- Written by John Plestina
The first picture is Nicole Waller and the second is Cody Johnston.
A Fairview man has been charged with the murder of his former girlfriend, Nicole Yvonne “Nicky” Waller of Kalispell, now missing 31 months since her SUV was found abandoned on the shoulder of the westbound lane of U.S. Hwy. 2 about one mile west of Poplar.
Authorities believe that Waller, who was 31 when she was last heard from on Feb. 14, 2013, might have been murdered because of an alleged love triangle. Her body has never been located and authorities presume that she met with foul play on Feb. 14, 2013.
Cody Wayne Johnston, 36, is charged with deliberate homicide and tampering with physical evidence. He is lodged in the Richland County Justice Center, held on $250,000 bail.
Deliberate homicide carries maximum sentences of death and life in prison. Tampering with physical evidence carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine up to 50,000. The tampering with physical evidence charge is for allegedly concealing or removing Waller’s body, according to the arrest warrant.
Richland County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Montana Department of Criminal Investigation agents arrested Johnston without incident at a commercial fueling station in Sidney Monday, Aug. 24, at 4:18 p.m.
Johnston appeared before Justice of the Peace Greg Mohr on Aug. 25, and an initial appearance was set for Wednesday, Sept. 9, before District Judge Katherine Bidegaray in 7th District Court in Sidney.
Brant Light, a Montana assistant attorney general, is prosecuting the case as a special deputy county attorney for Richland County.
Johnston is from Kalispell, worked for an oilfield trucking company and lived in Fairview.
Johnston told investigator that he knew Waller in high school in Kalispell and reconnected years later on Facebook. A relationship developed between them.
The charging documents also allege that Johnston told the detectives that Waller lived with him in Fairview for a month or less prior to her disappearance.
Johnston also alleged to police that Waller had a drug problem. He claimed she had an opiate problem that was related to health problems, that he wanted her to go to drug treatment and she did not want to go, straining the relationship, according to the charging documents.
Johnston claimed to investigators that Waller called him the morning of Feb. 14, 2013 and told him she decided to leave and was driving back to Kalispell.
He also told them he stayed overnight at his employer’s shop because Waller was calling and yelling at him, according to court documents.
According to court documents, the Flathead County Sheriffs Office in Kalispell received a call from a friend of Waller on Feb. 16, 2013, saying that Waller had not returned home from visiting Johnston in Sidney. Waller’s friend told a Sheriff’s investigator that Waller told her she would be leaving the Sidney-Fairview area Feb. 14, 2013, at about 7:30 a.m., to drive home and was due in Kalispell that night.
The FCSO placed an attempt to locate on Waller’s vehicle and learned that the Montana Highway Patrol had located the SUV and placed an abandonment sticker on it.
Johnston claimed to authorities that he had assumed Waller was home in Kalispell until her sister, Carmen Keibler, called him and said she was missing and her vehicle was found near Poplar.
Keibler contacted the Sidney Police Department reporting her sister missing. Sidney police contacted Johnston.
The charging documents allege that Keibler told law enforcement that her sister’s relationship with Johnston was turbulent with several breakups. She also told authorities that Waller had medical problems.
Dateline NBC featured the Waller case in February 2014. The national television news magazine alleged that Waller had driven more than 500 miles from her home in western Montana in February 2013 to confront Johnston about his seeing another woman while he was in a relationship with her.
Court documents state that Keibler told police her sister had learned that Johnston was involved with another woman. Keibler told the FCSO that once Waller learned about the other woman, she went to Fairview in January 2013, confronted Johnston about his other relationship and claimed she was pregnant, which was fictitious. Keibler is alleged to have told authorities that Waller texted her saying it was not going well between her and Johnston and she was leaving to return to Kalispell.
Johnston’s other girlfriend told a FCSO investigator that she had given Johnston an ultimatum to end his relationship with Waller.
Keibler also told investigators that her sister told her she had gotten into a physical fight with Johnston and drove from Fairview to a hotel in Malta.
A former boyfriend of Waller and another friend later picked up Waller in Malta. He told FCSO investigators that Waller had claimed to be afraid of Johnston. The former boyfriend also alleged that Johnston had threatened him and told him to not have any contact with Waller.
Waller’s former husband, Jason Waller, told the FPSO that Waller called him from Fairview the morning of Feb. 14, 2013, and told him she was leaving that morning to drive to Kalispell. He told sheriff’s investigators that Johnston had padlocked Nicole Waller’s house in Kalispell. Johnston is alleged to have bought the house for Waller, but he is the legal owner, according to other information in the charging documents.
Verizon Wireless advised the FCSO that Waller’s cell phone had been powered down and that the last usage was on Feb. 14, at 7:25 a.m.
According to the charging documents, evidence suggests that Johnston killed Waller on the morning of Feb. 14 and later disposed of her body in a barrel in an unknown location.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which became involved in the case soon after Waller was reported missing, viewed video footage from the Culbertson High School surveillance camera on Feb. 22, 2013, that showed Waller’s Ford Expedition traveling west through Culbertson shortly after she was alleged to have left Fairview. A red 2002 Ford F350 Super Duty pickup with amber lights on top of the cab followed. The FBI determined that a coworker of Johnston owned the truck and contacted that man. He said he believed Johnston killed Waller, according to court documents. He also told investigators that Johnston came to his residence and asked him for an old barrel, which he did not have. Johnston then asked him to meet him on the highway, follow him out of Fairview and give him a ride back from Poplar, which he did. That man said Johnston left Waller’s SUV on the side of the road.
The FBI remained involved with the case for about eight months, but turned it over to the Montana Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation at the end of October 2013.
A search warrant was obtained for Waller’s SUV. The Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice and FBI processed the vehicle. Two live guinea pigs that belong to Waller’s daughter were found inside the vehicle along with clothing, household objects and toiletries.
FPTDLJ chief investigator Ken Trottier told The Herald-News earlier this year that investigators had confirmed that someone other than Waller brought the SUV to the location where it was found in Roosevelt County.
Waller had three children ages 9, 11 and 13 at the time of her disappearance.
A friend established a Facebook page called Find Nicole Waller less than two weeks after she was reported missing.
- Written by Angela Rose Benson
Gene Marchwick and Toby Wix work on the Roosevelt Medical Center sun room window upgrades. (Photo by Jaimee Green)
The recliners are all moved back into the resident’s Sun Room following the completion of the new window construction at Roosevelt Medical Center.
The week-long project was completed by Larsen Builders Inc. and cost roughly $11,000. Enough money was raised to also cover most of the cost for installing new rods and curtains.
The project was only made possible through public donations received through the Roosevelt Memorial Healthcare Foundation from various fundraising projects, including the Ice-Breaker Fundraiser, which kicked off in January of this year.
“After decades of use, the window panes were cracked and leaking, and made it difficult to regulate a comfortable temperature in the room,” said Ken Forbregd, maintenance supervisor for RMC.
The construction creates significant efficiency and will no longer fog up from the moisture, enabling the resident’s to enjoy the view outside.
There are other areas in the facility that will need windows replaced at some point, including the chapel located near the Alzheimer’s Unit.
The windows that were replaced were originally installed in 1977.
“This room serves as the area where residents can relax outside of their rooms, socialize, watch their favorite television shows and listen to the birds chirping in the aviary. It was important to make this room enjoyable again for our residents and it means so much to have the support of the community. It is only because of their generosity we were able to accomplish this,” said Jaimee Green, RMC marketing and foundation director.
- Written by Angela Rose Benson
Jennesy Taberna of Culbertson has been hired to be the fifth through 12th grade instrumental music teacher at Culbertson Public Schools.
This will be her third year teaching. Taberna taught fifth through twelfth grade band and general music for two years at Culbertson School, then took several years off to become a mother, and has now rejoined the teaching staff. She was also the Culbertson cheerleading coach for some four years.
Taberna attended Dickinson State University in North Dakota and was active in the arts offered at her college. She was in marching band for five years, was captain for the color guard and was involved with the University Modern Dance Company.
“I love seeing the kids excited about learning music,” said Taberna. “Whether it’s the fifth-graders playing their first notes or the junior high and high school students overcoming the challenges that come with learning new, more difficult music. I love seeing them all push themselves.”
Taberna is married with two children, one boy and one girl. She enjoys baking, decorating cakes and some sewing. “My life revolves around family and music,” mentioned Taberna.
Leslie Dendy has been hired to be the junior high science and social studies teacher.
Dendy, who previously taught in Poplar, has been teaching since 1973 and has taught many different subjects to kindergarten students through college students. He began his schooling at the University of the Southwest in New Mexico and attended other colleges such as Texas Tech University, Eastern New Mexico University, New Mexico State University and the College of Santa Fe.
Dendy once maintained his own computer business where he developed computer network systems and is also a licensed minister.
“I’ve taught all my life and never pursued any other career,” Dendy said. “I’m a teacher. I eat, sleep and breathe teaching. It allows me to stay in touch with growing generations and helps me not get old.”
Dendy has been married for 40 years, has three grown children and is currently raising four of his many grandchildren.
“My wife and I never took on the responsibility to raise a pet, but I suppose I could count the two-legged variety in my classroom,” Dendy joked. “Though, I do raise plants. I once had my own greenhouse and I also love aquariums.”
In earlier years, Dendy enjoyed camping, hiking, various outdoor activities and directing camps. Now, he enjoys traveling, playing piano and reading books on adventure, mythology, science fiction and occasionally mystery.
“Teaching is not a career to get into if one would like to become rich,” Dendy said. “But there is a wealth in experiences and a wealth in memories. I’ve only been working with the students here at Culbertson for one week and I can already tell it is going to be a grand year.”