Family Repeatedly Warned Authorities Before Attacks That Jared Kuntz’s Mental Health Had Deteriorated But Tragically No One Listened

Police mug shot of Jared Kuntz


That message was posted by Jared Robert Kuntz on his Facebook page an hour before he allegedly attacked four hikers on the M Trail near the University of Montana in Missoula earlier this month.

The 38 year-old Kuntz has been charged with first attacking a woman who was hiking with her teenage son. The boy had fallen behind his mom. The woman suffered a fractured skull. The boy said Kuntz spotted him and chased him down the trail. Kuntz reportedly then removed his clothing, hid in bushes and when two brothers hiking on the trail spotted him, demanded their clothes. The brothers claim Kuntz charged at them. One of the brothers stabbed Kuntz with a buck knife but that didn’t stop him from continuing to chase them.

Since that arrest, Kuntz’s brother has detailed how he and his mother repeatedly warned authorities that Jared’s mental health had deteriorated and that he had threatened them. Yet, no one listened even though  Kuntz already was on probation for a previous incident.

Dr. Gary Mihelish, President of NAMI Helena, forwarded me Jacob Kuntz’s narrative about his brother’s illness. Dr. Mihelish wrote, “Although I wasn’t surprised, it was especially difficult and painful to read right after watching “Bedlam,” and “The Definition of Insanity” documentaries this week on PBS. We can and must do better for our fellow citizens.”

Here is Jacob Kuntz account.

My name is Jacob Kuntz. The perpetrator of the heinous and senseless acts of violence committed on the “M” hiking trail in Missoula, MT on Friday April 10th, 2020 is my brother, Jared Kuntz. I am writing this in the hopes that the victims, their families, friends, and the community of Missoula, Montana will find true justice.

Officials Were Warned

Jared Kuntz was under the supervision of Missoula Probation and Parole. Three to four weeks prior to April 10th, 2020, I called and left a detailed message for his probation officer. I expressed to his voice machine that I felt my brother’s condition was “deteriorating”, and that if left un-checked serious problems would arise. I notified my mother as well, who also called and left messages of concerns with Missoula Probation and Parole.

After not hearing back for multiple weeks, I checked in with Kalispell Probation and Parole and got contact information for Missoula Probation and Parole Officer Supervisor. I was told by the Kalispell Probation officer that all calls made to Probation and Parole must be responded to in 24 hours. I called and left a detailed message for Missoula Probation Officer Supervisor on Friday 4/3/2020 exactly 1 week before these unspeakable events happened, expressing my strong concern for my brothers deteriorating condition and that something needed to be done for fear that he and/or someone would be harmed and that he was violating the terms of his Probation, my mother also made contact attempts.

Out of growing fears of serious harm to the community, I contacted Missoula Police Department on Saturday 4/4/2020. Given the nature of my concerns, I was placed immediately to dispatch (911) and connected to a Missoula Police Department officer. I explained the nature of my concerns and my brother’s history and that if nothing is done there would be potential for significant harm to members of the community and/or himself.

I explained that Jared was under the supervision of Missoula Probation and Parole and emailed the Police officer the threatening messages he posted on Facebook. My mother again reached out to Missoula Probation and Parole, getting the opportunity to speak with his Probation Officer. She expressed sincere concern for his mental health as it was deteriorating rapidly and expressed sincere concern for the public safety and again asked him to get in touch with me.

Brother Completely Delusional: Knew Harm Was Imminent

Finally, on Wednesday 4/8/2020, 2 days before the atrocious crimes and several weeks after my first contact attempts, Jared’s Probation officer called me back. On this very day, my brother contacted me and was completely delusional, and I knew that harm was imminent. I explained everything to the Probation officer about my brother’s condition, history, and that once at this point it ends terribly and always has.

I pleaded that something must be done. At this time Jared had threatened someone who came to his door to check on him, which I also notified the Probation officer of. I proceeded to contact Missoula Providence Psychiatry (emergency mental health provider with the hospital in Missoula, MT). I expressed my sincere concern about my brother’s mental state, that I was certain there was imminent harm to the community and himself, and my efforts to engage Missoula Probation and Parole and the Missoula Police Department.

I was told that patients cannot be involuntarily committed, they must be court ordered or volunteer to come in, this is accessed through the hospital ER. I communicated with my brother and offered that I will drive to Missoula and we would go together to the ER to get him help. He refused.

Day of Incidents

At 1:00pm on 4/10/2020, my mother called me explaining a terrible call she received from Jared and that he was completely delusional and had threatened my life as well as harm to her and my father. Prior to calling me she called and left a detailed message for his Probation officer explaining the threat and that harm was imminent and that something must be done. Around 5:30 pm on 4/10/2020, I began to see the reports of the incident at the “M” Hiking Trail in Missoula, MT that began around 2pm.

My family and I did everything we could to stop this horrific situation, and our numerous desperate pleas for help to Missoula Probation and Parole, Missoula Police Department and emergency Psychiatric care were ignored.

The victims on the “M” Trail experienced tremendous trauma and suffering from horrible acts of violence that could have been avoided had these agencies responded appropriately.

What’s not included in this report is the countless hours we spent as a family encouraging/demanding Jared to get help and support, and I offered multiple times to go with him to treatment in Missoula despite his threats against my own life.

I urge anyone who reads this to pursue action, whether you’re a journalist, a victim, a victim’s relative/friend, an attorney, an officer paid to protect and serve our communities, or any community member who feels they can help.

Our hearts go out to all the victims, their families, friends and the community of Missoula, MT for this truly senseless tragedy that could have been avoided.

About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.