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3 more murders confirmed in Fremont County; Lander man arrested

By Sarah Elmquist Squires
The Ranger
Via- Wyoming News Exchange

RIVERTON — A homicide was reported on the Wind River Reservation over the weekend, an arrest was made in a second homicide on the same day, and the Fremont County Coroner’s Office has confirmed a man was murdered outside Riverton in March, marking the county’s homicide toll at six since the new year began. 

According to Lander Police Chief Scott Peters, Michael Ray Vigil, 39, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder after a person was found murdered on Sweetwater Street in Lander on Sunday morning just before 7 a.m. 

The original call reported an assault, and officials are not releasing the identity of the victim pending further notification of family and investigation. 

Law enforcement was later called on a report of a second homicide at 9:24 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, according to the Fremont County sheriff’s call log, which indicates the death is under investigation by the Bureau of Indian Affairs Wind River Police Department.

Unlike other local law enforcement agencies, the Wind River Police Department does not comment on investigations and only releases data when a person is charged with a crime in federal court. 

All but the word “homicide” and the date and time were redacted from the sheriff’s call log. 

This week the Fremont County Coroner’s Office released the details in another homicide. 

Law enforcement officials were called to a Riverton residence on Vine Street on March 17 at 5:45 p.m. on a report of a dead body. The 29-year-old man, Pete Ouray, was found dead in his home. 

According to the coroner, his cause of death was homicide by blunt traumatic injuries of the head, and his blood-alcohol content was measured at .254%. His date of death was listed as March 15. 


Lander arrest 

According to the second-degree murder charge, Vigil told investigators he beat his victim in the head with a metal bar after the two had been drinking together at Vigil’s residence. Vigil claimed the man made sexual advances toward him. 

The affidavit states the two were drinking on Saturday night at Vigil’s residence on Sweetwater Street when the victim began “acting weird” and took off his shorts. 

Vigil told investigators the man put his clothes back on and when Vigil, allegedly fearing a sexual attack, told him to leave, the victim laid down on Vigil’s bed instead. Vigil retrieved a metal bar and struck the victim in the head three times, then dragged his body onto the patio, the complaint states. He then burned some things from the victim’s wallet on top of his body, court documents allege. 

When Lander police arrived at the scene at 6:46 a.m. Sunday morning, they reportedly found Vigil with blood on his clothing and feet, observed blood in the bedroom and dining room, along with blood around the body in the backyard. A metal bar was located in the dining room, the complaint describes, along with signs that Vigil may have attempted to clean some of the blood. 


Violent deaths adding up 

The new murders follow three earlier violent deaths in Fremont County. 

On February 25, Inez Whiteman, 37, died as a result of a stab wound to the chest. The BIA and FBI are investigating the death, which Fremont County Erin Ivie ruled a homicide.

Ivie also ruled the February 19 death of William Yellowrobe Sr. as a homicide due to blunt-force traumatic injuries to the head and ethanol intoxication; his blood alcohol content was measured at .31% at the time of his death. 

Riverton Police were called for a welfare check at 9:30 a.m. that morning after Yellowrobe was discovered near St. James Episcop bloodied with possible signs of trauma near St. James Episcopal Church. 

He was pronounced dead there; police are seeking information from anyone who may have heard a disturbance the day before, February 18, between 3-9 p.m


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