UPDATE: KBIC Tribal Police shares timeline of search for Mongozid, MSP says speed was factor in fatal crash

Virgil Mongozid, 18, was found dead in his truck on Sept. 25 after going missing three days before.
Virgil Mongozid, 18, went missing Sept. 22; he was found dead in his truck Sept. 25
Virgil Mongozid, 18, went missing Sept. 22; he was found dead in his truck Sept. 25(WLUC)
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 9:52 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 27, 2022 at 3:09 PM EDT
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ALBERTA, Mich. (WLUC) - UPDATE: The MSP said Tuesday that speed is believed to have been a factor in the death of Virgil Mongozid, who was found dead in Baraga County Sunday.

Mongozid went missing on Thursday, Sept. 22 and was found dead inside his truck off of US-41 across from the entrance to the Baraga County Memorial Hospital on Sunday, Sept. 25.

Tuesday, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Tribal Police Department (KBTP) shared new details about the search for Mongozid, a Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Member.

According to the KBTP, the Michigan State Police said NMU Public Safety called the Baraga County Sheriff’s Office to request a well-being check on Mongozid Sept. 22. after he was involved in an assault complaint investigated by NMU Public Safety the evening before.

The department was told by Negaunee Regional Dispatch to respond to a missing suicidal subject in the village of L’Anse. The MSP said troopers and officers contacted Mongozid’s sister at her home in L’Anse and found out that he had not been seen since 2:00 a.m. that day.

Officer Alden Connor, III, and Captain Dale Goodreau then contacted the MSP and L’Anse Village Police because the complaint was outside the jurisdiction of the L’Anse Indian Reservation.

KBTP Officer Connor contacted Negaunee Regional Dispatch to find a location ping from Mongozid’s cell phone.

For the next two days, Officer Anthony Loonsfoot contacted Facebook and Snapchat to receive Mongozid’s last known IP address. On Saturday, Sept. 24, Loonsfoot contacted Verizon Wireless. The KBTP said at the time, no new cell phone activity appeared and the location ping for Mongozid’s cell phone remained in the same radius.

On Sept. 24, the Michigan State Police Operation Team of Lansing located a new ping location across from the Baraga County Memorial Hospital in L’Anse. Loonsfoot and Baraga Village Police Officer Matthew Shalifoe, Jr. searched the new location.

However, they were unable to locate Virgil Mongozid.

On Sept. 25, the KBTP K-9 unit, Sgt. Everette Ekdahl and K-9 Savage, Connor, Loonsfoot and Chief Duane Misegan searched the location across from the Baraga County Memorial Hospital.

The side of US 41, across from the entrance to Baraga County Memorial Hospital.
The side of US 41, across from the entrance to Baraga County Memorial Hospital.(WLUC)

At about 1:00 p.m. the KBTP located Monogozid dead in his vehicle, a late 80′s model Ford F-150. Mongozid had crashed directly across from the hospital entrance. The vehicle was located in the woods on the south side of the road and, according to the MSP, “would be hard to see from the road if someone wasn’t looking for it.”

The MSP Calumet Post handled the fatal crash investigation, as it was outside of the jurisdiction of the L’Anse Indian Reservation. They said speed was a factor in the fatal crash and that Mongozid was not wearing a seatbelt. There is no autopsy currently scheduled.

“First and foremost, on behalf of Tribal Police, we send our heartfelt condolences to Virgil’s family,” said KBTP Chief Duane Misegan. “Missing person cases are often spread out through multiple jurisdictions. This makes it difficult for our department to conduct investigations when not on the reservation. We became aware of the situation and immediately stepped in... We only wish the outcome had been different.”

KBTP Chief Misegan also thanked Officer Loonsfoot “for the many hours he put into this search,” as well as Officer Connor, Sergeant Ekdahl, and Captain Goodreau for their assistance. Misegan said they worked alongside L’Anse Village Officer Chad Soli, Baraga Village Officer Matt Shalifoe, and Baraga County Deputies Scroggs and Gustafson, as well as Troopers Larson and Kochan. He thanked Lieutenant Mitchell Stevens and his team “for the recovery efforts, which helped to narrow the search area.”

The KBTP Chief declined TV6′s request for an interview at this time.

Last published: Sep 26, 2022 5:00:49 PM

Virgil Mongozid, 18, was found dead after a multiple-day search in Baraga County.

Troopers from the Michigan State Police Calumet Post, NMU Public Safety, and Keweenaw Bay Indian Police began searching for Mongozid on Sept. 22.

According to the MSP, NMU Public Safety called the Baraga County Sheriff’s Office to request a well-being check on Mongozid that day. He was involved in an assault complaint that was being investigated by NMU Public Safety the evening before.

Troopers and officers contacted Mongozid’s sister at her home in L’Anse and found out that he had not been seen since 2:00 a.m. that day.

An area broadcast was put out for Mongozid and his vehicle, a late 80′s model Ford F-150.

On Sunday, Sept. 25, Calumet Troopers responded to the area of US-41 near the entrance of Baraga County Memorial Hospital.

They discovered Mongozid dead inside his vehicle. An investigation into the traffic crash is ongoing. It is believed to have occurred in the early morning hours of Sept. 22. Mongozid’s cause of death is unknown at this time.

Mongozid was a freshman at NMU studying automotive maintenance. The university said students needing support to process Mongozid’s death should reach out to the NMU Counseling and Consultation Center at 906-227-2980 during University business hours or Health Advocate at 800-384-1800 after hours. Other resources are available at the well-being page on NMU’s website.

Last Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 9:52 AM EDT:

A search is happening for 18-year-old Virgil Mongozid who last called his family on Thursday around 2:00 a.m.

According to his mother, he called to say he was low on gas in Alberta and was heading towards L’Anse.

Police and members of the community began looking for Mongozid on Thursday and will continue Friday.

He has a navy blue GMC 1994 Sierra truck.

Anyone with information is asked to call KBIC Tribal Police at 906-353-6626.