Laurel residents in shock after two murders in 1998

Miranda Fenner’s murder remains unsolved
Kathleen Gilluly
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Miranda Fenner

Miranda Fenner

Twenty years ago Laurel residents were left reeling in the wake of two horrific murders. The second, the stabbing death of Miranda Fenner November 15, 1998 at The Movie House on West Main Street has never been solved despite ongoing efforts by law enforcement and reward posters prominently displayed on vehicles and in windows. The daughter of Mike and Sherry Fenner of Laurel, Miranda lived at home with her parents. She was a 1998 Laurel High School graduate.

To this day, the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit continues to ask for leads in the case. Fenner’s murder is one of nine unsolved murders in the county the CCU is investigating.

At the time of her murder, Laurel police, including then officer Mark Guy and former Chief Rick Musson, worked with the YCSO to collect evidence. Chief Musson said it appeared from the crime scene that Fenner, who was 18, was taken to the back of the store and viciously attacked with a knife. She managed to drag herself to the front of the store for help and made it partially out of the front door when a passing motorist saw her and called police, according to statements Musson made in 1998. Police received the call for an ambulance at 8:23 p.m. The ambulance arrived five minutes later. The Help Flight helicopter airlifted Fenner to St. Vincent Hospital at 9:06 p.m. Hospital officials pronounced her dead about an hour after her arrival.

A dark colored car, possibly a Chevy Monte Carlo was observed by a sheriff’s deputy near the rear of the store just minutes before the ambulance call. A deputy stopped a similar car around 10:50 p.m. The driver was picked up and questioned at the Laurel Police Station, but he was later released. The Laurel Chief said that Fenner had been concerned about a customer who had been at the store several times, as she had told her co-workers.

Since then, according to Sheriff Mike Linder, who was interviewed in 2012 by a television crew, the YCSO and CCU has collected many, many tips. He said they all are important.

“I wish I could comment on the evidence,” he said, “but the next call that comes in could be the tip that ties it all together.”

There is a $25,000 reward being offered for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in Fenner’s murder. For more information, visit www.yellowstonecoldcase.com or see a community television program on the case at www.youtube.com/watch?v=61Jjpbp1cng&feature=youtu.be Anyone with information should call CCU at 254-7988, the 24-hour tip line at 869-3530 or Crimestoppers at 254-6660.

According to the the YCSO Website http://www.co.yellowstone.mt.gov/Sheriff/, “the CCU is comprised of Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office Detectives, retired investigators, Reserve Deputies, a crime analyst and forensic experts. Information that at one time may have seemed insignificant could prove to be the missing element in solving an open case when combined with new tips and leads. The public is urged to submit any information they feel may be important to a case, and information may be submitted anonymously.”

The CCU was formed in 2012 to review unsolved homicide cases dating back to 1973. The unit focuses on the cases with the highest probability of being solved with fresh leads and new forensic technologies. In many cases, according to the Web site, biological evidence is still present allowing advances in DNA testing to bring those responsible to justice.

The other murder occurred in Laurel the previous week. On Monday, November 9, Ken Edwards of Billings, was shot and killed in the parking lot of Laurel Ford where he was employed. The shooting was related to a domestic dispute between Timothy Fields, his wife and the victim. Fields turned himself in to Billings Police after the shooting.

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