A man, identified as Garrett E. Vaska, has been arrested in Polson, Montana, on suspicion of killing his mother and concealing her body for several days. Vaska is facing charges of deliberate homicide committed using a dangerous weapon and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. If convicted, he could face a life term in state prison.
According to court documents, Vaska’s mother, Philista St. John, who suffered from dementia and diabetes, was living at the 300 block of 10th Avenue West. Health care workers were in the process of arranging her placement in an assisted living facility due to her deteriorating health. Vaska, who lived in an outbuilding on the property, was deemed incapable of being her caregiver.
On August 28, a nurse visited the house and attended to St. John as usual. However, the following day, the house was locked, and Vaska did not respond when the nurse knocked on his building. When health care workers returned on August 31, Vaska claimed that St. John’s brother had taken her to South Dakota, but no contact information was provided.
A week later, on September 6, health care workers requested a welfare check after discovering that St. John did not have any living brothers who could have taken her to South Dakota. When officers arrived at the house, Vaska informed them that his mother was home. However, during a sweep of the premises, St. John’s body was found in a middle room of the house, concealed in garbage bags and covered with blankets.
Law enforcement also discovered significant blood evidence on bedding, walls, and ceilings in the room where St. John was found. A handwritten note near Vaska’s bed was recovered, which allegedly contained a confession to the crime.
Vaska has not entered a plea to the charges, and his arraignment is scheduled for September 28 in Lake County District Court.