Father John Kerrigan

Priest Disappears; Bloody Clothes, Car Found

Crime Types: Missing, Disappeared,

Tag: Missing

Father John Patrick Kerrigan was last seen at Deneault’s Bakery on Fourth Avenue Southwest in Ronan, Mont., around 11 p.m. on July 20, 1984. Inside the bakery, the 58-year-old priest spoke to some members of his congregation and explained he was enjoying an evening walk before heading back to his home at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. This would be the last time anyone would ever see Kerrigan alive.

The next day was Sunday and 100 Sacred Heart parishioners were left wondering where their priest was as they sat waiting for 6:30 a.m. Mass to start. It was to be Kerrigan’s first service at his new church. When he failed to show up for the later morning Mass, the congregation of Sacred Heart knew something was wrong.

A pile of abandoned clothing was discovered soon after Kerrigan vanished. There was a shirt, shoes, and a windbreaker. The shirt had a $100 bill in the pocket. Kerrigan’s wallet with $200 in it was also found. The clothes were different from what Kerrigan had worn to the bakery, but strands of hair found on them were linked to Kerrigan. Near the clothes was a blood-stained wire coat hanger, which could have been the murder weapon.

A week later Kerrigan’s Chevy Impala was located on a hill near Polson, a few miles south of where his clothes were found. There were no fingerprints in the car but there was blood on the front seat, passenger-side door, and passenger-side floor. A blood-soaked pillow, a blood-stained shovel, and another wallet were all reportedly found in the trunk. The car keys were discovered 30 yards away from the car. The body of the priest, however, was never found.

Location verified: 47.703563, -114.051364; pullout of Hwy 35 five miles NE of Polson; matched to picture Link to coordinates: https://www.google.com/maps?q=47.703563,+-114.051364&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiBz7HSr6f7AhW0HjQIHX9EB_oQ_AUoAnoECAIQBA