BILLINGS — Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge specialist Adam Deras was found dead in his vehicle on Tuesday after reportedly offering to respond as an EMT to a nearby vehicle incident.
An autopsy conducted by Sheridan County coroner Dave Fulkerson was inconclusive as to the cause of death. He’s awaiting Deras’ earlier medical records to allow the state medical examiner to determine what may have happened.
Deras was found in his vehicle with the motor running, Fulkerson said. There was evidence that his vehicle had been stuck in his snowy driveway.
“He was apparently attempting to dig himself out,” Fulkerson said.
Deras, 33, had been working at the remote northeastern Montana waterfowl sanctuary since 2014. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he graduated from Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Mo., with a degree in biology. He was a certified master scuba diver.
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“He loved working in conservation,” said his sister, Abigail Deras. “He volunteered for years when he was young.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money to defer the expense of having Deras’ body transferred to Missouri for funeral services.
“He did love Montana,” Abigail said. “But it was a little cold, especially coming from where he’d been.”