BELFRY, Mont. – A man accused of killing three people he was living with in a tiny Montana town was arrested early Friday after authorities tracked him to Washington state.
Robert James LeCou, 39, faces three counts of deliberate homicide in the shooting deaths of two women and one man, whose bodies were discovered in a home in the tight-knit town of Belfry, just north of the Wyoming border.
Authorities followed leads to Nine Miles Falls more than eight hours away and took LeCou into custody in a house in the incorporated community just outside Spokane, Montana Department of Justice spokesman John Barnes said.
LeCou was living in the Belfry home where the bodies were found Thursday, Cascade County Attorney Alex Nixon said. A worried neighbor called police after not hearing from the residents in two days.
In the small town of 200, the triple slaying shocked residents.
"This doesn't happen here," said Theresa Kokkeler, who lives three doors down from where the bodies were found. "This only happens on TV. I've been here 55 years. Never."
Sheriff's officials have declined to identify the victims until their families are notified and autopsies are conducted.
But Kokkeler named a victim as Sharon Hill, saying Hill and her husband or partner had moved into the home three or four years ago. The man used a walker and Hill periodically called Kokkeler for assistance when the man had fallen and needed help getting up, she said.
About six months ago, a younger couple moved in, presumably to help Hill care for the ailing man, Kokkeler said.
The younger man, LeCou, stuck out because he would never speak to her when they ran into each other. That's unusual in the tight-knit community of Belfry, she said.
"He was a strange duck," Kokkeler said of LeCou. "He would ride his bike by and not say a word to you. And here, everybody's friendly."
LeCou was being held in a jail in Spokane. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney.