Butte police remain tight-lipped on a cold case arrest, but say after 5 years they finally have the evidence needed to make an arrest.
The case began when an out-of-state relative reported Matt Hatfield missing in December 2008. Hatfield had been missing for almost a month before his family reported it to the police.
Heavy snow initially slowed the search, but in May 2009, police launched a renewed effort to find Hatfield, even bringing in a team of dogs to search the property. The property they were searching is off of Roosevelt Drive, about 30 minutes south of Butte, where Hatfield was taking care of his mother.
The case went cold up until this week. On Monday, County Attorney Eileen Joyce filed deliberate homicide charges against Hatfield's son, Adam Hatfield. The following day, authorities in Hot Springs, SD, made the arrest.
Sheriff Ed Lester sat down with NBC Montana Thursday morning to talk about why Adam Hatfield was arrested. He could not say much specifically about the reason the arrest happened, but said he expects more court documents to be filed within the month.
"There will be more court documents filed probably within the month that could explain that, but at this point I'd rather not discuss the means that we were able to determine Matt is deceased," said Lester.
We also asked if Matt Hatfield's body was ever recovered. Lester tells us all he can say at this point is they have enough evidence to to show Matt Hatfield is deceased.
"Through evidence that was recovered at the scene, as well as additional items sent to the crime lab, we now forensically can show that Matt Hatfield is deceased," said Lester.
There are many questions authorities tell us cannot be answered right now. Lester tells us in a case like this, it takes time to gather the evidence needed to make an arrest.
"A series of tests that were performed scientifically, DNA testing and other forensic testing that have lead us to this stage," said Lester.
Lester says every step of the way authorities have watched Adam Hatfield as he changed locations several times since 2008, most recently living in South Dakota. He says since 2008 he has been interviewed three times about his father's disappearance
"Adam was certainly a person of interest at that time in 2008, and has continued to be throughout the progression of the case," said Lester.
The next step after Adam Hatfield's arrest in South Dakota is an extradition hearing scheduled for Friday. He faces one felony charge of deliberate homicide.