The man accused of murdering two Gillette men sometime in the past few weeks allegedly used a hand saw to cut up the bodies, which he then stored in a plastic tote container in his truck and in a car top carrier.

Michael Montano, 37, of Gillette made his initial appearance in Circuit Court on Tuesday afternoon before being returned to Campbell County jail on a $2.5 million cash-only bond. He is charged with two counts of second-degree murder and two counts to mutilation of dead human bodies. Each of the four counts carries a penalty of not less than 20 years in prison to life.

He is accused of killing Phillip Brewer, 33, and Jody Fortuna, 38. Brewer was last seen in early September and reported missing Sept. 24 by his sister. She said he had last been seen with Fortuna at Montano’s home. Fortuna was reported missing Oct. 3 by his mother, who said he had come to Gillette on Aug. 27 and hadn’t been heard from since, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case.

The affidavit of probable cause lists no reason for the alleged murders, but only indicates that Montano said his girlfriend, Kylee Collins, 22, helped him hide the bodies. She denied it.

Collins has been charged with accessory after the fact and two counts of conspiracy to mutilate a dead human body. She also made her initial appearance in court Tuesday afternoon and Circuit Judge Wendy M. Bartlett set bond for her at $100,000 cash only.

Campbell County sheriff’s deputies were alerted to the case Saturday when a woman told police she had seen Brewer’s dead body in the back of Montano’s silver-colored Dodge pickup at 32 Hoy’s Trailer Court on Hannum Road the night before. She told police they had been hanging out at the Fireside Lounge but left to go to his place because it was crowded. They drove Montano’s black 2013 Honda Accord and she saw the Dodge pickup already parked at his place.

She smelled “a foul odor” coming from the bed of the pickup and when she opened the tailgate, she saw a dead body that she recognized as Brewer’s, which she said had a hole in the head. She froze and called a taxi, she said.

Another man told investigators that on Oct. 5, Montano had seen some empty blue 55-gallon barrels where he worked and asked if he could have one. The man asked why he wanted one.

“Montano stated, ‘I gotta get rid of some bodies,’” according to the affidavit.

The man claimed that Montano had a plastic tote container in the back of his pickup, which he stabbed with a butterfly-type knife. The man “smelled a strong odor, similar to that of a deer which had been dead for a long time,” the affidavit said. The man told deputies that Montano said “he cut the bodies with with a saw in his bathtub. (The man) also stated that Montano said his girlfriend walked in on him while he was cutting up the bodies.”

The man accused of murdering two Gillette men sometime in the past few weeks allegedly used a hand saw to cut up the bodies, which he then stored in a plastic tote container in his truck and in a car top carrier.

Michael Montano, 37, of Gillette made his initial appearance in Circuit Court on Tuesday afternoon before being returned to Campbell County jail on a $2.5 million cash-only bond. He is charged with two counts of second-degree murder and two counts to mutilation of dead human bodies. Each of the four counts carries a penalty of not less than 20 years in prison to life.

He is accused of killing Phillip Brewer, 33, and Jody Fortuna, 38. Brewer was last seen in early September and reported missing Sept. 24 by his sister. She said he had last been seen with Fortuna at Montano’s home. Fortuna was reported missing Oct. 3 by his mother, who said he had come to Gillette on Aug. 27 and hadn’t been heard from since, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case.

The affidavit of probable cause lists no reason for the alleged murders, but only indicates that Montano said his girlfriend, Kylee Collins, 22, helped him hide the bodies. She denied it.

Collins has been charged with accessory after the fact and two counts of conspiracy to mutilate a dead human body. She also made her initial appearance in court Tuesday afternoon and Circuit Judge Wendy M. Bartlett set bond for her at $100,000 cash or surety only.

A forensic pathologist said that bullet holes had been found in portions of the dismembered body parts, and positively identified the two as Brewer and Fortuna.

It remains unclear exactly when the alleged murders occurred.

Campbell County sheriff’s deputies were alerted to the case Saturday when a woman told police she had seen Brewer’s dead body in the back of Montano’s silver-colored Dodge pickup at 32 Hoy’s Trailer Court on Hannum Road the night before. She told police they had been hanging out at the Fireside Lounge but left to go to his place because the bar was crowded. They drove Montano’s black 2013 Honda Accord and when they arrived, she saw the Dodge pickup already parked at his place.

She smelled “a foul odor” coming from the bed of the pickup and when she opened the tailgate, she saw a dead body that she recognized as Brewer’s, which she said had a hole in the head. She froze and called a taxi, she said.

Investigators later learned that the trailer was Collins’ home and that he frequently stayed there, as well as the Arrowhead Hotel.

Another man told investigators that on Oct. 5, Montano had seen some empty blue 55-gallon barrels where he worked and asked if he could have one. When he went there two days later to pick up one, the man asked why Montano wanted one.

“Montano stated, ‘I gotta get rid of some bodies,’” according to the affidavit.

The man claimed that Montano had a plastic tote container in the back of his pickup, which he stabbed with a butterfly-type knife. The man “smelled a strong odor, similar to that of a deer which had been dead for a long time,” the affidavit said. The man said that Montano “told him he killed Jody and Phillip,” according to court documents.

The man said Montano told him  “he cut the bodies with with a saw in his bathtub. (The man) also stated that Montano said his girlfriend walked in on him while he was cutting up the bodies.”

When deputies checked the trailer on Hannum Road, they found Fortuna’s white 2001 Chevy Impala with a Rock Springs license plate.

At the Arrowhead Motel, the manger told investigators that Montano had been in and out of the room all night until about 3:20 a.m. Saturday. A housekeeper that morning found a towel with blood on it.

Montano’s Honda Accord was found on Vivian Street about 10 a.m. Saturday. It was seized and towed to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office evidence vault. About 45 minutes later, his Dodge pickup also was found near the intersection of Allen and Vivian streets.

The deputy who walked up to the vehicle “immediately detected a strong four odor, similar to that of an animal which had been dead for quite some time,” according to the affidavit. He saw dried blood on the tailgate and a 55-gallon barrel in the backseat.

It also was towed to the sheriff’s office, where investigators found two plastic totes in the bed of the pickup and several black plastic garbage bags containing dismembered male body parts, according to the affidavit.

In a suitcase in the bed of the truck were Fortuna’s high school diploma and other documents with his name, the affidavit said.

On Sunday, Montano agreed to talk to an investigator, and told him that three weeks ago, he was awakened at his home in Hoy’s Trailer Court by Collins.

“Collins asked Montano what he had done, and advised him there were two bodies (Brewer and Fortuna) in the bathtub,” according to court documents. “Montano said Collins asked him, ‘Can you get away with this?’”

Montano told investigators that the bodies remained in the bathtub for two days before he cut up the bodies with a hand saw and placed the pieces into plastic totes, put them in his car and took them to a storage unit near his house, which he said he and Collins had bought in order to hide the bodies.

He said they checked on the unit daily and worried about the number of flies that were gathering and  stole a bug bomb to use there.

“Montano said Collins told him they needed to get rid of the bodies, and that he and Collins drove around for a day looking for a place to dump the bodies,” according to the affidavit. “Montano said he kept making excuses for why he couldn’t dump the bodies.”

Once they returned to Gillette, they kept moving the truck from place to place to hide them, he said. He also said they thoroughly cleaned the bathroom. Investigators said that could explain that when investigators searched the home, they found no “visible evidence” of either murder or the dismembering of the bodies, according to court documents.

Montano also told investigators there were body parts in a car top carrier at a unit at Anytime Storage, which he had rented in September.

But when investigators talked to Collins, she said she didn’t know anything about Montano having a storage unit. She also said she didn’t wonder what was in the back of Montano’s truck.

“I’ve never wondered,” she told investigators. “I’m not going to go and question him about everything he does, you know? I think that’d be weird.”

She also was told that Montano had told someone that “Collins walked in on Montano doing some bad things.” The investigator asked her what she saw.

“Collins said, ‘I don’t, I don’t. Please don’t,’” according to court document. “I just don’t — please don’t make me talk. I just don’t want to. I don’t want to talk anymore.”

A press release issued Tuesday morning indicated that the sheriff’s office continues to investigate the case as well as the Wyoming State Crime Lab.

For continuing coverage of this story, please watch gillettenewsrecord.com.

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