HELENA, Mont. – An Oklahoma couple has been arrested in Montana for investigation of burying a young girl then digging up her remains and moving the body from state to state for more than a year, authorities said Tuesday.
Abel Wolf, 35, and Denise Wolf, 40, were being held without bail in the Hill County jail in Havre after being charged in Oklahoma with unlawful removal of a body, Hill County Attorney Gina Dahl said.
The suspects are scheduled for a court appearance on Wednesday.
An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of death and whether the remains are those of Abel Wolf's 11-year-old daughter Cheyenne, said Jessica Brown, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
Abel and Denise Wolf were arrested Thursday near Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation southwest of Havre. The arrests were first reported by the Havre Daily News.
Sharon Skyberg, a booking official at the Hill County jail, didn't know if the Wolfs had retained a lawyer. Dahl said the defendants likely will be appointed a public defender by the court if they haven't retained one privately.
Brown told The Associated Press that relatives had reported to Oklahoma police that Cheyenne Wolf was missing when her father and stepmother Denise moved to Montana and Oregon.
The investigation led police to discover the remains in a storage unit in the Milton-Freewater area of Oregon.
An affidavit filed by OSBI investigator David Houston said Abel Wolf told Houston the family was upset with Cheyenne in April 2008 because she would not eat dinner one night.
While Abel was outside smoking, he heard a thump but said Cheyenne seemed fine, the affidavit said.
She was found dead the next day, according to the document.
"Abel Wolf put Cheyenne Wolf's body in a sleeping bag and then put her body into a large plastic tub," the affidavit said.
That tub was then stored in a shed, buried under the deck and moved with the family in August 2008 to Havre, it said.
When Cheyenne's sister ran away in January and was placed in a hospital, the couple began to worry that word would get out about Cheyenne, so they moved her remains to a chicken coop on property owned by Denise Wolf's brother in Oregon, the affidavit said.
Denise Wolf later moved Cheyenne's body to a storage building in the Milton-Freewater, Ore., area, Houston said in his affidavit.
In court, the suspects will be given an opportunity to waive extradition, voluntarily surrender to Oklahoma law officers and be returned to that state for prosecution.
Otherwise, Oklahoma will seek to have the defendants extradited to that state, Dahl said.