We're slowly getting a clearer picture of what happened in Laurel recently regarding a 28-year-old female whose body was discovered Monday in a ditch near the train tracks on the outskirts of town. The details are heartbreaking.

According to a GoFundMe posted Wednesday by "family, friends and community" of the victim, Laurel resident Kassi McColley took a walk to escape a dangerous domestic violence situation on the evening of January 31, 2024. McColley reportedly messaged family and friends to inform them of her situation and started walking on E. Laurel Road. This was the last known contact with the victim.

Photos via Laurel Police Department/GoFundMe
Photos via Laurel Police Department/GoFundMe

Kassi McColley's body was found four days later.

Her mother filed a missing person report on February 2 after attempts to contact Kassi were unsuccessful. McColley's mother searched the area along Old Highway 10 herself (near the mobile home court on Laurel's east side)  and discovered her daughter's body on Sunday, February 4 "dismembered & near unrecognizable."

The Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office shared a Facebook post on 2/6 that they were searching for the vehicle that struck McColley. Based on fragments of the vehicle found at the scene, it was believed to be a silver 2017 - 2022 Chevrolet TRAX. An updated post from the YCSO on 2/7 reveals they have located the vehicle and owner. They wrote,

The vehicle owner contacted our detectives after seeing the post on social media.The investigation is ongoing, and will be forwarded to the County Attorney for review, and to determine if or what charge or charges if appropriate.
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Downtown Laurel. Credit Michael Foth, TSM
Downtown Laurel. Credit Michael Foth, TSM

The Laurel community remains shaken.

Tragedies are awful no matter where you live, but they always seem to hit harder in smaller communities, where everyone knows everyone. All of our kids go to the same school, and all of us shop at the same stores. Laurel residents (including this author) are anxious for answers and our hearts go out to Kassi's family, particularly her mother and her 8-year-old daughter. Their GoFundMe writes,

We hope to memorialize Kassi and her loving nature. We would also strive to make changes in the way domestic violence and missing persons cases are handled locally, so no other families have to endure the same struggles as Kassi's.

May she rest in peace and may justice be delivered accordingly to whoever struck and killed this young woman with a car while she was simply walking away from a domestic disturbance. The Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office is asking for any possible witnesses to this tragedy to please call Detective Johnson at 406-256-2941.

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