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McDonald Lake death under investigation

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ST. IGNATIUS – Cassandra Harris, 24, was found unconscious and badly injured near McDonald Lake in the Mission Mountains on Saturday, June 23, in the morning hours.

Lake County Undersheriff Ben Woods stated that her identity was initially unknown and the circumstances of her injuries were also unknown. He said she was not the woman reported missing earlier in the week.  

On Monday, June 25, Harris was in the intensive care unit at Kalispell Regional Medical Center. “She is not expected to survive,” Woods states. The Harris family confirmed later in the day that she did not survive her injuries (see related obituary on page 31).  

At McDonald Lake, the initial investigation revealed details of the crime. “It was suspected that it involved a vehicle based on the scene and location of the (injuries),” Woods states.  

Lake County Sheriff’s Office detectives, Montana Highway Patrol and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Police worked together for 36 hours after Harris was found to locate and apprehend four suspects believed to be responsible for her fatal injuries. 

“All are in Lake County Jail,” Woods said. “A vehicle has also been seized as evidence. More information will be released this coming week … as the case is still being investigated.”

The Lake County Jail roster lists the following people as booked on June 24: Donnovan Sherwood, 18, for obstructing justice; Joseph Parizeau, 22, for negligent homicide; Gale Hendrickx, 19, for negligent homicide; and Julia Vaile, 18, for negligent homicide. Sheriff Don Bell confirmed the suspects were arrested in connection to the incident at McDonald Lake.

At the time of the arrest, Parizeau was awaiting trial for charges of assault with a weapon, aggravated burglary and intimidation from two separate incidents occurring in 2017.

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