Wyoming news briefs for January 6

Remains of missing Texas woman found in Cody

POWELL — The remains of a 29-year-old woman who’d been missing for weeks were found Monday in Cody. 

On Wednesday, police identified the deceased as Rachel Sirman of Texas. Cody police said they’d had “intermittent contact” with Sirman between September 2020 and June 2021, describing her as transient. Sirman’s family had notified Cody police she was missing on Dec. 16, the department said; the report was not publicized at the time. 

It was around 10 a.m. Monday when landscapers who’d been working on a hillside above Sulfur Creek reported finding part of a human body behind a residence in the 1300 block of Sunset Boulevard. 

Cody Police Department spokesman John Harris said his agency enlisted the assistance of a Park County Search and Rescue cadaver canine and “additional remains were located in a temporary camp near the bottom of Sulfur Creek.” 

An autopsy was performed by forensic pathologist Dr. Thomas Bennett on Tuesday in Basin, and personal property found at the site corroborated the findings that the remains belonged to Sirman, police said. 

“Sirman was a transient who was known to camp in the area [where] the remains were found,” Officer Harris said in Wednesday afternoon’s statement. 

The department did not release a suspected cause of death, saying only that final reports from Bennett and Park County Coroner Tim Power were pending. 

“The investigation will continue,” Harris said, “however at this time there are no indications of any criminality involved in Sirman’s death.”


‘Shrek’ arrested in Riverton Walmart

RIVERTON — The Riverton Police Department arrested a man in underwear who identified himself as “Shrek.” 

At 2:50 p.m. Tuesday, RPD Officer Bhagya Nethicumara was dispatched to Walmart for a report of an intoxicated person walking around the store in his underwear, according to an RPD report. 

She found him in the hardware section, wearing a blue jacket, a T-shirt, black underwear, and socks. 

“When asked for his name, he stated his name was ‘Shrek,’” though he was later identified as 46-year-old Sherette Luhan. 

He appeared “too intoxicated to care for his safety,” Nethicumara would later write. She tried to arrest him, beginning by holding his left arm behind his back, but he jerked his arms forward and pulled away. Nethicumara performed a “leg sweep” to get him to the floor. 

She struggled with Luhan. RPD officer Brandon Brookover assisted. Nethicumara held Brookover’s taser to the subject, but did not deploy it. 

The pair were able at last to handcuff Luhan and take him to RPD, where he gave a breath-alcohol reading of .236 percent, the report states. 

The man was cited for public intoxication and resisting arrest. He later was released when his breath registered zero percent alcohol.


Barrasso, Lummis join anti-mandate brief

CODY — U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis, both R-Wyo., joined Senator Mike Braun, R-Ind., 44 other Senators, and 136 Representatives in filing an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States. 

The amicus brief was filed to an upcoming case considering the Biden administration’s recent mandate requiring private employers with over 100 employees to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine or weekly testing.

The brief argues that Congress did not give the Occupational Safety and Health Administration the authority to impose a vaccine mandate and urges SCOTUS to stay the mandate.

“Congressional members have an interest in the powers they delegate to agencies not being abused – the legislative authority vested in the federal government belongs to Congress, not the Executive branch,” the members wrote. “In this case, the promulgation by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration of a sweeping, nationwide vaccine mandate on businesses intrudes into an area of legislative concern far beyond the authority of the agency. 

“And it does so with a Mandate enacted through OSHA’s seldom-used ‘emergency temporary standard’ provision that allows for bypass of notice and comment rulemaking under certain circumstances. That OSHA exceeded its authority in enacting the ETS Mandate is not a ‘particularly hard’ question.”


Sage grouse reproduction declines

GREYBULL — Early estimates from Wyoming’s 2021 sage grouse wings indicate reproduction declined slightly in the last year. 

Wings from harvested chick and hen sage grouse are collected from hunters — primarily in central and southwest Wyoming — who voluntarily contribute wings by dropping them off at designated collection points during the hunting season.

Hunters deposited wings from 621 chicks and 750 hens in collection barrels. 

In a preliminary analysis, Wyoming’s 2021 chick-to-hen ratio was 0.8 chicks/hen. It’s a decrease from two previous years where reproduction ratios held at 1.1 chicks/ hen. Based on these numbers, male lek attendance is expected to be lower this spring.

“There’s no doubt that Wyoming’s drought has an impact on this year’s chick recruitment," said Leslie Schreiber, Wyoming Game and Fish Department sage grouse/sagebrush biologist. “Good moisture in the spring and summer and quality habitat are the top two contributing factors of chick survival." During the first month of life, chicks rely on a diet of high-protein insects with adequate habitat cover. As the bird grows, grass and plants like wildflowers become another important food source. 

Older birds rely almost exclusively on sagebrush in their diet.

“Sage grouse are a sagebrush obligate species and could not survive without it," Schreiber said.

Thirty-eight percent of the world’s sage grouse inhabit Wyoming and the state supports more than 1,700 known, occupied leks.