Missoula_A couple from Oklahoma that moved to Montana's rugged mountains for a cheap place to live apparently got caught off guard by a snowstorm, with the woman freezing to death in their remote cabin.
Her common-law husband, suffering from hypothermia and starving, was found propped up against her body, with an array of weapons spread in a half circle in front of him, authorities said.
Mickey Charlene Davis, 67, had probably been dead for about two weeks when authorities reached the cabin Jan. 13, Powell County Sheriff Scott Howard said.
The man, 44-year-old Jack McWhorter, had only a few bouillon cubes in his pocket, Howard said. Their two cats and two of their three dogs were also dead.
"They'd been in there for months, and they just flat ran out of food," Howard said. "They didn't have good clothing, they didn't have any firewood cut, and no way to even start a fire."
McWhorter was evacuated by snowmobile more than 20 miles, and spent several days in a hospital. He declined to talk about the ordeal Wednesday, the Missoulian newspaper reported.
Howard said McWhorter and Davis apparently had their eye on the inexpensive 20-acre lot when they arrived sometime early last year. They had some sort of agreement with the landowner but "didn't realize what they were getting into."
"They planned to live there year-round," Howard said. "They saw an ad and thought that would be wonderful place to be, with absolutely no knowledge what a mountain snowstorm can do."
No one had seen the couple for months, until neighbors who lived three miles away asked two snowmobilers to check on them. Howard said McWhorter told the snowmobilers to call authorities because his wife was dead.
Authorities gave Davis a county burial in Deer Lodge after attempts to locate her family were unsuccessful. Her driver's license listed her hometown as Salina, Okla.
Howard said McWhorter is too emotional to talk much, but the sheriff figures things got bad starting when snowstorms hit in late November.
He found McWhorter sitting on the floor against his wife's body, with the weapons nearby.
"I don't know if he was worried about us," Howard said. "... I don't know what was going through his head."