The resort town of West Yellowstone is expressing shock over the arrest of local businessman Larry Moore on a murder charge in the disappearance of former Deputy Sheriff Brad Brisbin - his hunting partner, fellow businessman and friend.
"The whole thing doesn't make any sense," the Rev. Mac Graham, pastor at the First Baptist Church in West Yellowstone, said Tuesday. "People don't really know what to say.""Shock is a good word," said Ron Binfel, a disc jockey at local country music station KWYS. "Everyone is just stunned that this could happen here."
Moore was charged Monday with murder in the disappearance of Brisbin, who has not been seen since Nov. 9.
Both Brisbin and Moore are well known. Brisbin is a restaurant owner and part-time teacher and Moore owns a refuse-disposal company and an excavation company.
Both of them, people told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, have been active contributors to the West Yellowstone community.
And both have been leading troubled lives. An affidavit filed in district court to support the murder charge alleges that Moore believed his estranged wife was having an affair with Brisbin.
"People who knew them even casually knew they were having trouble in their marriages, in their friendship," said Elizabeth Laden, editor of the Yellowstone Times newspaper. "Everyone tried to reach out to them, to help them."
Knowing about the men's problems didn't make it easier for people to accept the possibility that Moore could have killed Brisbin, though.
"Nobody expects murder," Laden said.
The fact that Brisbin disappeared without a trace and that officials have not found his body gives people hope, she said.
"Maybe he didn't even do it," she said of Moore. "A lot of people are holding out."
Whatever their opinions, all of the town's 750 to 1,000 residents are talking about the case. And everyone is disturbed by it, said Food Roundup grocery store co-owner Cal Dunbar.
"Everybody knows everybody," he said. "It's like tossing a pebble in a pond: There's nobody that a wave doesn't touch in one way or another."