Human remains have recently been discovered along the Selway River, with one set currently undergoing analysis to assist in identification.
With two men -- brothers Jesse and Raymond Ferrieri-- still missing following a 2018 vehicle accident in the region, investigators are hopeful these may be connected to --- and provide closure for -- the case.
To follow up on these recent discoveries, Idaho County Sheriff ’s Office (ICSO) detective Jerry Johnson is requesting the public’s help to assist not only the investigation, but also the victim’s families.
“We’re asking the public when they’re in that area to be aware of any skeletal remains they might find. Any doubt on whether they are human or animal, collect them and contact us right away so we can do further investigation,” Johnson said. “We’ve contacted the family on both discoveries, and they are praying and hoping that remains of both sons would be recovered at some point.”
Jesse Ferrieri, 21, and Raymond Ferrieri, 25, of Mahopac Falls, New York, were among six men total who were involved in an early morning single-vehicle accident on May 21, 2018, on a back-country road approximately 50 miles west of Darby, Mont.
The Chevrolet Suburban they were traveling in went into the Selway River near Paradise Camp, and of the six, two men escaped: Jesse Gunin and Jason Lewis of Georgia. The following month, the bodies of Reece Rollins, 22, of Terrebone, Ore., and Koby J. Clark, 21 of Bozeman, Mont., and Kuna, Idaho, were located in the river; on June 12 and 14, respectively. Multiple ground and air searches were conducted; however, no signs of the Ferrieri brothers were found, and the pair remain officially missing. Fast-forward to Aug. 16 of this year.
According to Johnson, a back-country pilot and his wife flew into the USFS Shearer Airstrip along the Selway River for a weekend fishing trip.
“While he was fishing, he decided to cut across a flat across the river, and he found a fragment of bone he thought was odd, and he tucked it into his jacket,” he said. “When he got back to the plain, his wife, who is a nurse practitioner, said she believed it was human.”
It was. The fragment was a right side upper jaw that included the lower orbit of the eye, and three intact teeth just forward of where the wisdom teeth would be, and space where three teeth were missing, Johnson said. It was recovered approximately 15 miles below the 2018 accident site.
The fragment was sent to a forensic odontologist in Oregon, Dr. Richard Fixott, who has conducted past dental identifications for ICSO. However, with just those three teeth, and these not having undergone any dental restorations, such as fillings, Fixott was unable to include or exclude either Ferrieri brother for identification, according to Johnson.
“We appreciate his efforts very much,” Johnson said, who provides these services free to ICSO and promptly. Johnson said he and two other ICSO deputies did a follow-up search in the area where the fragment was found, covering six miles, but they discovered nothing further.
On Saturday, Sept. 26, ICSO received a call from the Selway Lodge caretaker who reported one of their visitors had found a fragment approximately 200 yards below the pack bridge that appeared to be the upper portion of a human skull. This fragment awaits initial ICSO investigation, waiting for a deputy to pick it up or for it to be flown out on the lodge’s next supply flight, according to Johnson.
At this point, the jaw fragment has been sent to the state lab in Boise to attempt DNA investigation, according to Johnson. As part of this, new reference samples (including from tooth and hair brushes) of the brothers were requested from the parents. In having reference samples, this should assist the lab in speeding up the identification process as much as possible, he said. Meanwhile, he asks the public to be on the lookout for more remains.
“We appreciate anyone and everyone’s help when they’re in there, to keep their eyes peeled,” he said. “The family is asking that, as well.”
Information on the case can be directed to ICSO at 208-983-1100.