Off-grid trapper commits suicide after law enforcement searches for missing woman’s property


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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

Sublette County man who described himself as a trapper who “lived completely off the grid” committed suicide as law enforcement searched his property for a missing woman, the sheriff’s department office said on Wednesday of Sublette County.

On June 19, a search warrant was served on Darrell “Pete” Petry, allowing authorities to begin the search for Vanessa “Nessy” Oren, a 61-year-old Labarge woman who has been missing since January 2017.

During the search for several days, Petry left his property and was found dead on June 22. An investigation determined that his death was self-inflicted and that no foul play is suspected.

Authorities told the Casper Star Tribune that Petry was not under arrest and was “free to come and go.”

Petry described his property on his Facebook page as a “remote area of ​​southwestern Wyoming that is completely off-grid.”

The self-describing trapper said he was retired but still worked part-time in “predator control”.

He also said he has been breeding bobcats since 2012.

“Keeping a bobcat in the house has been an educational experience,” Petry wrote. “I learned more about cats and what, why and when they are attracted to certain scents compared to others. An example being the friction on WD40. Weird eh? And bobcats have a better sense of smell than most trappers.

Petry appeared to be an active Facebook participant in 2015 and early 2016. His page is full of photos – some gruesome – of coyotes, foxes and other animals caught in snares and traps.

At the same time, he posted photos of his bobcat basking in his cabin.

“He is often at large in the house,” wrote Petry. “Spends most of his time at home actually. He used to not bother my daughters for being here.

The search warrant was executed with the help of several agencies, including NecroSearch, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Land Management, the Wyoming Game and Fish, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, and the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

According to The Charley Project, an online clearinghouse for missing persons information, the missing woman last had contact with her family in late January or early February 2016.

“We never heard from her again,” the site said.

Vanessa “Nessy” Orren’s disappearance is still under active investigation by the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sublette County Sheriff is asking anyone with information about Vanessa Orren’s disappearance to contact the Detective Division of the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office at 307-367-4378.

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