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Northeast North Dakota family goes missing while driving in Montana

From top left, Chelsi and Anthony Dean, along with their children Kaytlin and Avri, all of Grand Forks County, went missing this week while driving through Montana. They were driving a 2018 Toyota Forerunner with a trailer. Submitted photos

BILLINGS, Mont. — A family from Grand Forks County has gone missing while driving through Montana for Thanksgiving.

Chelsi Kay Dean, who is a member of the Manvel, N.D., Volunteer Fire Department, was driving this week with her husband, Anthony, and their two children from a relative’s house in Caldwell, Idaho, to Ekalaka, Mont., when they went missing, according to a UND Police Department tweet.

The last contact from them came around 6:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 22, while they were in Billings, Mont.. They sent a message saying they would arrive at their destination by 11:30 a.m. that day, Sgt. Andy Schneider of the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Office said. They were driving east toward a relative’s home in Ekalaka, which is about 260 miles east of Billings, he said.

But the family never made it.

“It’s just kind of odd,” Schneider said.

No foul play is suspected, he said. It’s possible they could be along a 280-mile stretch of between Billings and Ekalaka.

Anthony Dean’s mother, L.D. Webb, of Caldwell, has taken to social media in hopes someone will find the family of four. The Deans’ daughters are Kaytlin, 5, and Avri, 1, both of whom appear to have blonde hair and blue eyes, according to photos posted by University of North Dakota Police.

Anthony Dean, an airman stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base, appears to have short, dark hair, while Chelsi Dean appears to have dark, long hair.

They were driving a blue 2018 Toyota Forerunner with Idaho license plate 2C SC737 while towing a small trailer with a 1979 Toyota Corolla, according to media reports. The Corolla had its paint sanded off.

“Anthony has taken the route before so, (he) is familiar with it,” Webb said via Facebook. “Law enforcement agencies and hospitals have been called between the point of origin and the destination. ... Please pray for their safety.”

The Air Force also has been notified about the disappearance.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Office at (701) 780-8280.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

(701) 780-1248