The victim of a violent carjacking in Helena has died, though it's unclear whether the attack caused his death.
Kerry Paul Malkerson, 67, of Texas, was getting ready to leave a hotel in the 3100 block of Washington Street around 3:30 a.m. Sunday when someone strangled him and stole his Crown Victoria. The victim was taken to a hospital and later returned home to Texas, where he died Monday.
"It is unclear at this time if the injuries Kerry sustained on Sunday morning caused his death," Lewis and Clark County Coroner Bryan Backeberg said in a press release Wednesday. "The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office has conducted an autopsy and the results are pending further investigation."
Additional information about the death will be released when it becomes available from Dallas County.
Police in Salt Lake City, Utah arrested Eddie Sanchez of Helena Tuesday in connection with the carjacking, as well as an officer-involved pursuit in Helena and for stealing a wallet in Dillon. He was found in the car stolen from Helena.
Sanchez is being held in lieu of $250,000 bond. His charges include robbery, aggravated assault and criminal endangerment -- all felonies.
The officer-involved pursuit happened earlier Sunday morning, prior to the carjacking. Sgt. Jay Nelson of the Montana Highway Patrol said a state trooper initiated the pursuit shortly after midnight, when a vehicle failed to stop for a stop sign on Sierra Road in the Helena Valley.
The Helena Police Department used spike strips on the vehicle, which crashed on Interstate 15 near Custer Avenue, and the suspect fled on foot. Officers searched the area with a canine unit but were unable to locate the suspect, who is believed to be the same man who stole the Crown Victoria a few hours later.
Authorities also accused Sanchez of assaulting a Dillon woman in front of a convenience store in Dillon, forcibly taking her wallet and then fleeing on foot Sunday afternoon. That victim was not seriously injured.
Dillon police viewed surveillance video from local merchants and were able to get a description of the man and the vehicle he was driving. They say the crimes Sanchez committed in Helena are allegedly related to the theft of the wallet in Dillon.