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Arlee teenager charged in triple stabbing

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ARLEE — According to Lake County Undersheriff Dan Yonkin, the Lake County dispatch center received a 911 call reporting a stabbing in Arlee Nov. 12 at 5:38 a.m.

Lake County Sheriff’s Deputies, Flathead Police officers and members of the Arlee ambulance crew arrived on scene shortly after and found 51-year-old Arlee resident John Edward Fisher dead at the scene. Fisher’s body was found inside his residence on Laughing Louis Adams Lane along with two more stabbing victims — an adult male and an adult female. Both adults were transported to St. Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula to receive treatment for their injuries. 

The male victim was released from the hospital the same day, while the female remained in the hospital until Nov. 14. 

As the suspect is a minor, Yonkin would not release his name. Charging documents confirm the youth’s name is Nathan Butler. 

According to a press release, Butler fled the scene on foot before emergency personnel arrived. Lake County Sheriff’s deputies secured the scene while tribal officers pursued Butler.

Around 7 a.m., tribal officers arrested Butler in a garage south of Laughing Louis Adams Lane. 

Yonkin said the garage where Butler was arrested was quite a way from Fisher’s residence. 

“I don’t know if it was a mile away, but it wasn’t right next door,” he said. 

Officers did not require a search warrant as they had the owner’s consent to search the premises. 

Butler was transported to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office where he was interviewed by detectives. He is currently being held in the Missoula County detention center, as Lake County has no juvenile facility. 

Yonkin could not comment as to whether or not drugs or alcohol were involved. The garage where Butler hid from police was searched a second time after his arrest, but Yonkin could not comment as to what police found during the second search, if Butler had been arrested previously, how he knew the vicitims or if he had disciplinary issues in school. 

Neither the adult male or female stabbing victims have been charged with a crime. 

“From this incident, there doesn’t appear to be any crimes they committed,” Yonkin said. 

Butler will be charged with deliberate homicide, a felony, and Yonkin said it’s “highly probable” that he would face more charges, as there are two more victims. 

The charge of deliberate homicide carries a maximum sentence of life in prison in adult cases. It remains unclear whether or not Butler will be tried as an adult or a juvenile.

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