The bodies of Carol Jean Bruce, 71, and Bruce Henry Hulsman, 79, of Aberdeen, Washington, a reportedly suicidal couple last seen in Libby in August, were found Monday near Keeler Mountain in Troy.
Authorities were sent to Keeler Mountain Road 3:30 p.m. Monday after someone reported finding a Subaru with Washington plates and smelling a “bad odor” in the area, according to a Lincoln County Sheriff’s blotter entry.
According to radio traffic, the car was covered with a tarp.
“They took steps to try to conceal it,” Sheriff Roby Bowe acknowledged Tuesday afternoon.
Bowe believes the car was found by a woman who lives in the area, which he said is “not that remote.”
“It’s off the beaten path a little bit, (but) it’s not way back in there,” he said.
Bowe wouldn’t comment on how the couple died, citing the ongoing investigation.
He said he assumed the couple died shortly after authorities made contact with the couple on Aug. 8.
On that day, Libby Police Sgt. Darren Short checked in with them at the Caboose Motel in Libby, where they had been staying since Aug. 2. Libby Police had been contacted by the Aberdeen Police Department, which had tracked the couple after their daughter Jodi Griswold reported they had posted a suicidal message to Facebook on June 29.
Short reported that they appeared “lucid and in good health” and that there was “not enough information to justify an involuntary mental evaluation.”
In an Aug. 30 interview with the Western News, Griswold said when she spoke with her mother on the phone while she was with Libby police, she asked, “Where are you going now?”
“You know where we’re going,” was her mother’s reply, Griswold said, adding that her mother told her she had sent her a letter.
Griswold received the letter Aug. 22. In it she said her parents wrote they had found a place “deep in the woods of Montana to hide away and die” and “It will likely be several years before we are found.”
At the end of August, police said there had been no activity in the couple’s bank accounts or credit cards since Aug. 15. They reportedly checked out of the motel Aug. 20.
In the Aug. 30 interview, Griswold explained that her parents, who were in poor health, “told me in the past that they want what they call ‘a dignified death.’ Apparently it’s part of their love story.”