Homicide Suspect Released - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Homicide Suspect Released

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BILLINGS -

Michael Thomas Holtz, 21, was released from custody on Monday after posting a $250,000 bond. Holtz was arrested over the weekend in connection to the July 28, 2013 death of 27-year-old Forest Dana of Absarokee.

According to court documents, Dana's mother found him laying in an alley behind the fence of his parents' backyard at 7:18 on the morning of July 28th. An autopsy confirmed Dana died of blunt-force trauma to the head, and an expert confirmed, "Dana died as a result of having his head driven over by a motor vehicle." Dana suffered an injury that "completely transected the junction of the skull with the spine, which also severed his upper spinal cord." Experts say, "the blood in his lungs suggests that he may have been given some assisted respiration."

According to witnesses, a four-door dark-colored car was seen speeding down the alley. Witnesses say they believed it looked like Michael Holtz's car. According to court documents, Holtz denied driving his 2003 blue Mazda Protege behind the 5 Spot Bar on Saturday night July 27, 2013. He also denied seeing any blue cars in the alley that night. Michael told officers he had hit a deer three weeks before the alleged crime took place near Columbus on Interstate 90.

On August 15, 2013, a warrant was executed to search the vehicle, and officers reported seeing items of clothing that appeared to have red stains in the vehicle. The Mazda was then seized and taken to the Billings Police Evidence Garage. Hairs and fibers were taken from the undercarriage of the car. Investigators say a bruise on Dana's head resembled a the grill of the Mazda. On June 24, 2014, an investigator reported DNA found on the passenger side of the Mazda matched that of Forest Dana.



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