Questions remain in Dixon killing
DIXON — Beloved community member Doug Morigeau was killed and his wife seriously injured during a grisly home invasion last Thursday.
According to a press release, Sanders County Sheriff’s Deputies, Tribal Law and Order and Lake County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a 911 call for a home invasion around 8 p.m. Dec. 6 in the Dixon area.
First responders found Doug Morigeau had been stabbed to death in his home on Highway 212. His wife, Cheryl Morigeau, was also injured and was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Wash. On Monday morning, Harborview confirmed Cheryl had been discharged from the hospital but would not comment further.
Police arrested Missoula resident Nathan Lee William Calvert at the scene in connection with the murder. He remains in Sanders County Jail. According to Montana’s Sexual and Violent Offender Registry, Calvert is a violent offender convicted of partner/family member assault on Dec. 9, 2010.
Calvert made his first court appearance Friday in Sanders County Justice Court front of acting Judge Joe Eisenbrandt. Calvert was charged with one count of deliberate homicide, a felony. The charge carries a penalty of at least 10 years in prison and not more than 100 years in prison. Eisenbrandt said the prosecuting attorney has the option to pursue the death penalty.
Calvert was represented by a public defender and his bond was set at $1 million.
A preliminary hearing in Sanders County District Court is scheduled for Dec. 17 at 4 p.m.
Sanders County Coroner Kathy Harris confirmed Monday that Morigeau died of multiple stab wounds.
The Sanders County Attorney’s Office had no comment on any aspect of the case. The Sanders County Sheriff’s Office and detention facility could not be reached for comment.
Lake County Undersheriff Dan Yonkin said last month’s stabbing in Arlee and this most recent crime appear to have no connection and he believes them to be isolated incidents.
“We were requested to assist until (Sanders County) officers were able to get on scene,” Yonkin said. “Our officers were there for security purposes and we assisted in apprehending the suspect, but that was the extent of our involvement.”
Dixon resident Harley Hettick said he and his wife were watching television when their friend, Tom Sheridan, called the house and told him to lock his doors and turn all his lights on.
“He said, ‘There’s a nut-job running around sticking people. He just killed Doug and might have killed Cheryl,’” Hettick said.
Hettick said that made him more than a little nervous. He locked his doors and began calling neighbors and friends in the area, relaying the message Sheridan had given him. Sheridan called back some time later to say that police had someone in custody, but Hettick says that hasn’t done much to assuage local residents.
“I’ve lived here for more than 30 years and I can’t remember anything like this happening,” Hettick said. He said the murder has shaken the Dixon community and residents are “paranoid, uptight and nervous,” often leaving their yard lights on and locking their doors at night — a rarity in the close-knit community.
Hettick said he knew Doug and Cheryl well, and that he was still searching for a reason why this happened.
“It’s a crying shame,” he said. “They were good people, good neighbors, an asset to the community and they raised good kids.”
Hettick said no one in the community seems to know why this happened and the incident has given him nightmares.
“Why it happened is the big question — who knows?” Hettick said. “That’s what I can’t understand. They were really low-key, community-minded people. Everybody I’ve talked to says they think it was just a random deal.”
Doug and Cheryl worked at Two Eagle River School in Pablo. Cheryl served as the bookkeeper and business manager while Doug stepped into various roles as needed.
“He did a little bit of everything for us,” said TERS Principal and Superintendent Dr. Michael Bundy. “Wonderful people.”
Bundy said class was canceled Monday for students, but staff members were asked to come in for a morning meeting.
“It’s very difficult when something tragic happens to people like that,” Bundy said. “We’re a tight-knit staff, and that makes it tougher.”
Bundy said the meeting was an opportunity for the staff to visit, talk and work through the tragedy on their own before students come back.
“We want to keep things as normal as possible for our students and get through this week,” Bundy said. “Nothing ever makes sense out of these kinds of things, especially when it’s good people.”
Passers-by often break down near Hettick’s home and stop to ask for help. While he’d like to trust and help everyone, Hettick said this recent crime has shaken his resolve.
“This kind of thing makes you nervous and scared to help others,” he said. “Years ago, you would wake up in the morning and there would be somebody sleeping on your couch because they got cold or tired on the way home.
“I guess those days are over, huh?”
Please check www.ValleyJournal.net for updates on the case and new information as the week progresses.