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Air Force family in fatal highway accident identified

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Staff Sgt. Anthony James Dean, 25, assigned to the 69th Maintenance Squadron, was killed in a vehicle accident near Billings, Montana, over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Dean’s remains were recovered alongside those of his wife, Chelsi Kay Dean, 25. Also deceased in the accident are their two daughters Kaytlin Merie Dean, 5, and Avri James Dean, 1.

“Words are not enough during a time like this,” said Maj. Eric Inkenbrandt, 69th Maintenance Squadron commander. “AJ’s family brought a light to our maintenance community, and this loss strikes each of us deeply. May their friends and family be granted the strength and serenity to get through this sorrowful time.”

Montana Highway Patrol discovered the accident scene early Saturday morning after searching for the missing family since Thanksgiving Day. Initial reports indicate they were traveling on Interstate 94 when the vehicle went off the road, eventually coming to rest in a creek. The crash remains under investigation by the Montana Highway Patrol.

Anthony and Chelsi Dean, Caldwell, Idaho, natives, currently resided in Manvel, North Dakota, after being assigned to Grand Forks Air Force Base where Anthony worked as an RQ-4 Global Hawk crew chief.

Chelsi Dean also served her local community by working at the Manvel volunteer fire department.

Editor's note: The below stories preceded the final update provided above by the 319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs office.

Update

The Fire Chief of the Manvel Volunteer Fire Department confirmed to Valley News Live that the family has been found but the news is tragic. Steve Schumer tells us there were an accident and no member of the family survived. The family had been traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Original story

A family from a town near Grand Forks that was traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday has gone missing.

Anthony and Chelsi Dean of Manvel were driving with their two kids from Caldwell, Idaho to Ekalaka, Montana when their vehicle went missing, according to the University of North Dakota Police Department's Facebook page.

Chelsi Dean is a member of the Manvel Volunteer Fire Department.

Police say the family was scheduled to arrive at Ekalaka on Thursday at 11 a.m.

The Deans are believed to be between Billings and Ekalaka.

If you have any information on their disappearance, you're advised to contact the Montana Highway Patrol, the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office, or local law enforcement.