Winter overtakes couple; she dies, he barely lives http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2009/01/29/news/state/17-overtake.txt By KIM BRIGGEMAN Missoulian MISSOULA - An Oklahoma woman froze to death and her husband was rescued from a similar fate by Powell County law officers after winter caught the two unprepared in a shack high in the Garnet Mountains. Mickey Charlene Davis, 67, had probably been dead for 12 to 14 days when authorities reached the site between Interstate 90 and Helmville just before midnight on Jan. 13, said Powell County Sheriff Scott F. Howard. Howard and a deputy found Jack L. McWhorter, 44, starving, hypothermic and "cabin-fevered up" upon reaching the remote site. McWhorter sat on the floor, propped against his wife's body with an array of weapons spread in a half-circle in front of him. Officers transported McWhorter by snowmobile more than 20 miles to waiting deputies, who rushed him to Powell County Memorial Hospital. McWhorter was released after several days and is recuperating in a Deer Lodge apartment. He intends to move back to Oklahoma when he's able, Howard said. McWhorter declined Wednesday to discuss his ordeal, which Howard guessed began around Thanksgiving. Two small dogs and a cat were dead inside the shack when officers arrived. The only survivor besides McWhorter was a large dog. Howard estimated that it was three-quarters wolf. Howard said the couple had no snow machine with which to drive out, and had inadequate footwear to attempt to walk out after late November snowstorms stranded them. "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." Seven boullion cubes in McWhorter's pocket were the only food of any kind. Howard said the man was "wringing wet" from urinating and defecating in his clothes. Authorities gave Davis a county burial in Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge after attempts to locate her family were unsuccessful. Howard said he continues to look for anyone who has information on the woman's background. McWhorter, with whom Howard regularly checks in, doesn't know, "or if he does he's not telling us." Davis' driver's license lists her home town as Salina, Okla., a town of roughly 1,500 in the northeast corner of the state. Her date of birth was July 8, 1941. The sheriff's office has feelers out in Oklahoma with law enforcement, funeral homes and shelters. McWhorter and Davis apparently had their eye on the 20-acre lot when they arrived from Oklahoma in a van sometime early last year. The couple had entered into an agreement with the landowner, he said, though he didn't know if they'd actually purchased the land. "They planned to live there year-round," Howard said. "They really weren't hiding from anything. Neither one of them had any criminal history or anything like that. They saw an ad and thought that would be wonderful place to be, with absolutely no knowledge what a mountain snowstorm can do and how quickly it can turn bad." There are a handful of year-round residents in the area, including a man and his wife who have lived there for some 40 years. Their home is about three miles from the site of the Davis-McWhorter shack, and it was those neighbors who realized they'd seen no signs of the newcomers by January. When two snowmobilers stopped by to visit, the man asked them to buzz up and check on McWhorter and Davis. The men found the door propped open and a rifle sticking out. "He told them that he needed a sheriff, that he had a wolf and another dog in there, and that he had a dead woman in there," Howard said. "It freaked them out, so they just said, 'We're going to get the sheriff,' and off they went down the hill." Howard received the call at 6 p.m. at his home in Deer Lodge. He and and his deputy left their snowmobiles running and cautiously approached the dark cabin. Howard called out to McWhorter, who answered in a weak voice that he was physically unable to come outside. Howard edged in the door with no opposition, and turned his flashlight onto the ghastly scene. After McWhorter was delivered to the hospital, the officers returned to retrieve Davis' body. The cabin was "just a mess, just horrible." "You could tell that there'd been a lot of confusion and disorientation in that place for some time. It appeared to me there was a lot of rifling through things, just trying to find food, thinking it should be there, but they must have already consumed it." Davis and McWhorter "just weren't prepared," Howard said. "They didn't realize what they were getting into. They didn't listen to what anyone up there that was trying to tell them." ================ What a couple of idiots for being so ill prepared. So he had atleast 1 rifle he couldn't go out and find any food for them? 3 dogs and a cat sounds like they still had emergency reserve food to fall back on.