Bart Cutino Addresses Sierra Kills Body Recovery Effort

Posted by: Sharon Lee on January 28th, 2012

This post is authored by Bart Cutino, Bigfoot witness/researcher and a member of the BFRO. Bart was an invited participant during the Sierra Kills body recovery effort in July 2011.

Bart Cutino Addresses Robert Lindsay’s “Journalism”

Last night while taking a break driving southbound from some winter northern California research areas with my partner Rgr Leiterman, I happened to see both Lindsay’s “interview” with Justin Smeja and the ridiculous accusations & exchange posted with Dr. Meldrum. Having been an invited participant during the body recovery effort in July 2011 & having become the closest confidant and liason (if you will) from the bigfoot community to those involved in the shooting incident, I thought I’d clarify some of the rampant speculation and sensationalized comments.

Regarding the body search effort orchestrated by my good friend Derek Randles-

-Bobo and myself had been invited by Derek to attend the recovery effort a week prior as Bo and I were returning from the NorCal woods together and I can tell you from my participation in the search & my observations over the course of those three days that every word-phrase Meldrum took the time to highlight in red as erroneous from Lindsay’s “source” is 100% correctly “erroneous.”

Meldrum on DNA

-First off, Matt Moneymaker, who everyone knows is one of my closest friends in and out of the field for many years, was absolutely not at the recovery effort and was only told there was an outing by me (with very little information) a few days after my return home.

-As addressed, the dog handler visited the site on the third morning and was a very pleasant and professional woman. The dog handler was not looking for credit in discovery as she even declined to to be filmed or photographed with respect to the subject matter. The dog is trained strictly to detect human decomposition (a substantial & lengthy training process) and cannot be manipulated into successfully matching scents from a foreign, unfamiliar tissue sample as it could potentially ruin the dog’s career.

-I haven’t had a chance to talk with Jeff since last July at the site but I will tell you that the suggestion that any respected Associate Professor of Anatomy would make such a bold & presumptuous statement (regardless of his association of subject) without having an opportunity to perform appropriate scientific diligence is ridiculous. He made no such claim and I retrieved the sample for both Meldrum and Mioczynski to initially examine, in which they did using limited magnification that was available. Meldrum admittedly did have some preliminary reservations regarding hair morphology characteristics seen that he shared with all of us and I discussed personally with him at the site over the three days. I’m unaware if he was provided a sliver sample and or he’s personally done any further examinations.

Regarding Lindsay’s interview with Justin, you know immediately when you see a written interview of someone you know fairly well and it’s obviously sensationalized, biased and paraphrased. That’s usually when you can’t see the written responses coming from the interviewee’s mouth any longer and it only took about two questions of Lindsay’s “interview” with Justin to see that from my perspective. Without even having an opportunity to talk to Justin until this morning, I can tell you there are countless mistruths, false facts and exaggerations to mention, but the DFG story is worthy of some clarification.

Regarding the DFG’s visit to Justin’s house a couple of weeks prior to Christmas, Justin had contacted me extremely unnerved a few days before I was planning to head up to pick him up to place Reconyx cams in the northern Sierra foothills (nowhere near “kills” site). The unannounced visit by two officer’s from the DFG was understandably “spooky” considering it was mid-day, they were persistent and very nonchalant in regards to how they verbally approached the subject matter.

Although impersonating an officer was an unlikely scenario as it’s a serious offense in CA, and conspiracy theorists could scream “feds” all day, the real world scenario in my opinion was that it was in fact DFG and they were finally following up on several calls (likely made by internet bigfooters) about the incident and also were concerned more about a potential bear poaching relationship with this incident then animals they’ve likely determined do not exist.

The first thing we wanted to do was confirm it was in fact DFG and then we collectively decided it would be appropriate and in Justin’s & everyone else’s best interests to grant a formal & truthful interview “in office” potentially with an attorney present & officially get the events of that day on record. To Justin’s credit, he was absolutely ready & willing to go on record and although there’s not much to fear since there’s no precedent where someone was retroactively charged with killing a species that isn’t currently “recognized” by science, nor federal or state hunting laws, it’s not always easy by nature for lifelong fisherman & hunters to comply & cooperate with F&G when you’ve perceived them as authoritative eyes on your preferred recreational activities your whole life.

On our way up the I80 towards Reno I coached Justin on what to say when we contacted the DFG by cell phone and my advice consisted of him being 100% truthful, cooperative & professional in manner and language and not get caught in lengthy discussion of incident particulars over the phone (in person only). He left a message with the warden from my vehicle and was not contacted back for almost 36 hrs. By that time I had dropped Justin back off and I was already back home in Monterey (we only went into the field for one quick night). Justin was essentially told that his case wasn’t a priority and that they would contact him should they need to revisit it.

Over time, I’ve gotten to know both Justin and the driver personally & casually, as well as their immediate families. Although I wasn’t with them on that day, I’m fairly confident that they are being truthful to the best of their recollection of the incident and feel that anybody in my shoes would come to the same conclusion if they’ve spent the time I have around them.

However, as I’ve stated previously, it doesn’t matter what I or anyone else thinks, at the end of the day, we’re measured by results (in this case evidence). The boys understand that should the promised DNA results not be what they’re purported to be, then their incident is nothing more then an intriguing but anecdotal account. From the beginning, both have claimed that the sample they found was circumstantial in nature and with some significant time lapsed and I can tell you that both just want the sample verified one way or another and don’t fear the results. They’ve understandably believed by color appearance (with adult) location & circumstance there’s a good chance it’s from the specimen initially shot, but admittedly have never been 100% certain. (sorry- I assure you, no hidden bodies being kept or suppressed by my good friend Wally Hersom).

For what it’s worth, personally, I’ve never been as confident in the sample due to the circumstantial nature and timing in which it was recovered coupled with the concerns Meldrum initially shared from his admittedly “limited observation” of present hair morphology characteristics. I’d be lying if I said that I was optimistic about what results will show in the heavily anticipated “study.” I don’t mean that as a personal knock on Melba, nor let me make clear am I privy to or have any secret insight into potential results to be pessimistic about. I just personally live by “I’ll believe it when I see it” & “it’s nothing, until it’s something” philosophies, particularly in this field and all I’ve seen thus far are speculative leaks, bold claims & conjecture. I would love nothing more to be pleasantly surprised for all parties involved (whom I have the utmost respect for & know just want the truth) as well as the field as a whole.

I’ve also received some emails from people wondering how if I believe the “Sierra Kills” story is true I could be involved in protecting those directly responsible for the shooting & endorse the killing of two sasquatches. I have a similar response as my friend Derek Randles (I consider one of the best natural woodsman and researchers in the game) that as a researcher & personal witness, the thought of two of these graceful animals being slaughtered sickens me to no end and I would never endorse the harming of these animals under any circumstance…. though wasting this opportunity and the enormity of what it could mean from a historical zoological discovery perspective (I cannot go back in time to change if I wanted to)…. would make me even sicker.

In getting to know Justin personally I’ve also come to understand that it’s easy for us that are emotionally invested in this subject matter to sit here, judge and arrogantly proclaim what we’d do or not do in the same situation. A matter of fact, I’ve never told him this but one of the only reasons I refrained from possibly taking a shot at him (other then an unneeded assault charge) when I first saw him was that I didn’t believe him….. “yet.”

I’ve come to realize that maybe I would’ve done something stupid or regretful had I been confronted with a completely unexpected & immediate, frightening physical reality they both found themselves in. In addition, from an accepted biological perspective, what “they” are exactly remains to be seen and we could all argue about it all we want as it means nothing in the interim.

At the end of the day, I believe Justin should be judged by his actions that day not on how you and I as researcher/ enthusiasts (emotionally invested and interested parties & even some of us, witnesess) see & perceive sasquatches, but in how they appeared from “his” perspective initially, appearing suddenly, fully hirsute, somewhat frightening in appearance and potentially unpredictable…. “animals.”

Bart Cutino

About Sharon Lee
The Bigfoot Field Reporter's Mission is To promote and share research, information and events regarding the existence of the unlisted humanoid species known as Sasquatch or Bigfoot;and to help further education and understanding to the public regarding the species, throughout the United States of America.

20 Responses to “Bart Cutino Addresses Sierra Kills Body Recovery Effort”

  1. Fred123 responds:

    “The boys understand that should the promised DNA results not be what they’re purported to be…”-It looks like he’s preparing us for yet another “The dog ate my homework.” excuse that’s so popular with folks who claim to have solid evidence that bigfoot is real.

  2. CDC responds:

    This whole story is a complete LIE, in my opinion.

    There was no Bigfoot shot, Justin Smeja is a liar, and the DNA will prove he lied…in my opinion.

    This guy Bart Cutino is a close friend of Matt Moneymaker…enough said.

    Grizzy bears were hunted into extinction in California, but not one Bigfoot killing ever on record. With Justin Smeja lie, still, no Bigfoot killing on record in California.

    Just ask yourself, two Bigfoot killed on the same day within yards of each other, and no bodies, no pictures, no blood, no hair, no proof, no evidence, no trace, NO NOTHING. Just a stupid story by two guys who make trailer parks put up no vacancy signs.

    Bigfoot believers…don’t put your faith in these characters.

  3. William responds:

    @CDC I agree. That entire story has never passed the “smell” test for me. It seems simply like the “Georgia Boys” saga round two, only it the “California Boys” this time. Yarn spinning at its worst.

  4. aenea responds:

    Amen to that.

  5. mrdark responds:

    While CDC is more than a little rude, the core of his argument is sound. No matter what happened or how it happened, one simple statement is absolutely, undeniably true: the day a bigfoot is captured or killed, the entire world will know about it within hours. The same goes for -any- major mystery solved with 100% confidence. Any ‘monster’ being discovered (Nessie, Yeti, Ogopogo, Jersey Devil, Khloe Kardashian’s birth father, Boggy Creek monster, etc) will fly around the world in no time flat.

  6. airforce47 responds:


    Thank you for sharing. I have my doubts about Justin’s encounter but I’m not prepared to state unequivocally that it’s a hoax. Dr. Ketchum still has his samples which have been analyzed but not reported on yet. That may make or break Justin’s reported encounter.

    I’ve tried to read or see everything that Justin has said or reported since this event started. I do find some contradictions in his accounts but nothing that positively would say he’s involved in a hoax.

    You should note that his encounter happened within easy walking distance of a day or two for a Sasquatch of our research area. We know for a fact the species is in those mountains as 3 of our people saw a family of 5 of them at about 1/2 mile distance last July.

    If his encounter is genuine and not a hoax he has our interest. We don’t know how well an incident like his can be reported among the species members if at all. We could easily find ourselves in extreme danger based upon his reported actions if true.

    If his encounter is a hoax then he could have gotten the idea and some of the information off my Eastern Sierra Webpage of our website. I would like to return to the area with him and judge for myself the veracity of his encounter. Please pass this on to him.

    It’s been reported he was considering writing a book about his encounter. If he returns to the area with me I’ll shoot whatever photos he feels he needs for his book for free without credits.

    Thanks again and my best

  7. peteyweestro responds:

    Just like always here, most of the people who leave comments are always nay-sayers or wanting to put people down they have never even met. Whether you believe the killings were real or hoaxed or whatever, why put down people who are trying to help sort out the truth? Why put down Bart, do you know him, ever spoken to him? Same goes for Bobo, so many here want to talk out of the side of their necks about him after seeing him for 1 hr a week after being edited to death by some tv show, and yet you all have so many things to say about him. I wish I was as perfect as most of the regulars around here seem to be.

  8. DWA responds:

    And I’ll have two Sierra Squatch Steaks and a Georgia Monkey Suit. Chocolate shake and a fifth of whiskey with that.

  9. William responds:


    Can you explain what this is supposed to mean that you wrote?:

    “We don’t know how well an incident like his can be reported among the species members if at all. We could easily find ourselves in extreme danger based upon his reported actions if true.”

    Specifically, who are the “species” members and why would you be in danger. If I interpret this literally if would mean you are a bigfoot but that simply would not make a lick of sense!???

  10. DWA responds:

    peteyweestro: well, you do have a point.

    While I insist on having my own fun with circus sideshows like this (add a Bigfoot Curly Fries to my prior order), I think that folks need to stop before we get to character assassination; tossing babies with bathwater; and other crypto-crimes.

    For those who say “oh, Friend of Moneymaker, all I needed to hear,” people are entitled to have friends, you know? He has some cogent stuff up at (and that’s a pretty good database); let’s just say he doesn’t seem to be handling the TV angle the right way (a fair criticism). I will never understand what leads to stuff like Johor Hominid and Georgia Boys, to say nothing of Ray Wallace; but I try to stop short of felony convictions in absentia.

    People who have proof need to get it out there for review. Everybody who looks like they’re playing the market angle for all it’s worth, well, what are we supposed to think? But hate the sin and not the sinner. Tough economic times and all. If you’re one of the lucky ones, well, a chuckle or two never comes amiss. But they don’t look like the enemy or nuthin’.

  11. airforce47 responds:


    If you go to our website, you’ll understand my comments. Four times I’ve been close to the Sasquatch species and four times we’ve been intimidated for various reasons into leaving the area.

    There is in my mind no doubt the species exists and may very well have some connection to UFOs as Stan Gordon believes and maintains.

    Since the species is unknown we don’t have any specific ideas about how well they can transmit or verbally record events that happen to them in a given area among themselves.

    If Justin Smeja has actually shot and killed 2 Sasquatch and this information gets transferred through the Sasquatch species anyone entering this mountainous area could easily be in extreme danger.

    I do know from personal observations the species is intelligent and their intelligence is geared to survival. I have personal experience that this intelligence may be a great deal more but this will have to wait. We must have a specimen for a forensic pathologist to dissect and we must have firm observations from zoologists of the species before we can draw conclusions.

    The species is capable causing a great deal of harm to humans and may have done so in the past or present. As a general rule they prefer to stay away from us and keep us at bay. It seems they will tolerate us in their vicinity in limited number if you follow certain protocols to avoid intimidating or interfering with their normal functions. These are outlined on my Eastern Sierra Webpage.

    I hope this answers your questions. My best

  12. Peltboy25 responds:

    Couldn’t agree more with all of these comments. This “episode” is fiction, nothing more. The idea that someone executed the scientific find of the millenium (albeit in a rather sad way) and then simply drove away… is ridiculous beyond belief. And if Moneymaker or any of the BFRO three-ring circus are attached, there goes any remaining credibility.

  13. airforce47 responds:

    Greetings Peltboy25,

    One great thing about this forum is that everybody is entitled to an opinion and the right to state it. However, I neither accept Justin’s encounter as fact yet nor am I yet ready to categorically state that it’s a hoax.

    In war I’ve seen situations such as what Justin supposedly reported actually happen. Each situation had a different outcome based upon the circumstances of the situation.

    Dr. Melba Ketchum is probably the only other one who might really know the truth besides the two present when Justin’s encounter happened. She has the sample as part of her scientific paper which was just recently rejected for publication. She has very clearly said she will not release any of her findings or conclusions until her paper is published.

    However, she has a scientific reputation to protect and a business to run. If Justin Smeja was playing us for fools and orchestrating a hoax then she would have rejected his sample and kept him out of her work in self defense.

    I’ve asked her in a recent email to clarify this one point and it’s more for my own security and those of my fellow researchers than for this on-going controversy.

    If Justin Smeja is involved in a hoax then he may very well have gotten his information off my website. However, if his encounter is real and he did shoot two Sasquatch to death then the possible consequences for myself and my fellow researchers could be severe.

    The species might take getting shot with extreme anger and much greater intimidation. We enter and leave this area pretty much unmolested. We do get an occasional rock or tree break but for the most part we move around the area as we wish. There are things we don’t do which might intimidate the species and we’ve published those.

    If Justin’s encounter is real then we may expect some strong behavioral changes and we’ll report them if they happen. In the meantime the question of the veracity of his encounter is still open in my mind. It’s possible but not probable unless other evidence is forthcoming. My best,

  14. peteyweestro responds:

    Hey DWA, thanks for the reply and I do understand a lot of the reasons some people have been upset, but as you seem to agree with me a bit, I at least know someone heard me. LOL

  15. William responds:

    @airforce47: Thanks. Yes your comments explain everything. If I find time I will peruse your web site.

  16. CDC responds:

    @ Airforce

    “Four times” you have been “close” to the species? You see, it’s comments like yours that prove my point, no one has ever seen a Bigfoot.

    You expect anyone to believe you have been “close” to the most incredible unknown animal ever, and you do not even have a cell phone picture to prove it?

    Everyone of the people at all the Bigfoot eyewitness meeting is either lying or misidentified an animal…and in my opinion, you fall in that group.

    Justin Smeja didn’t kill any Bigfoot and you didn’t see, or come “close’ to any Bigfoot. You know how I know? Both of you CANNOT PROVE ANYTHING!

    When you get “close” for the 5th time Airforce, call some one who won’t be “intimidated” and will get some PROOF!

    Till then, delusion or out right lie, you didn’t see anything…in my opinion.

  17. airforce47 responds:


    Here’s perhaps the best close encounter and survival that I know of and it may be the best of all time. I personally know the encounteree as do several other researchers. He’s honest and credible and we did some research together before medical complications forced him to retire from research.

    You’re entitled to believe it or not but it did happen just the same. So far Justin’s account of his encounter doesn’t stand up to rigorous investigation. It tends to lend itself to the hoax theory but until Dr. Ketchum can confirm this by her stated rejection of his sample we will not know for sure.

    My best and go out and see if you get some photos of Squatchy.

  18. Peltboy25 responds:

    @ Airforce:

    “Possible, not probable”. I think you said it very well. I don’t mean any disrespect. I’m on this site because I’m obviously interested. I just have doubts about this episode. And I’m an avid hunter. Nobody…repeat; NOBODY who considers himself a true hunter shoots at something out of reflex. The idea is completely abhorant to anyone who respects the sport and the game he pursues. The last thing any true hunter does, when confronted with the unknown, is raise his rifle and fire a shot.

  19. norman-uk responds:

    It seems to me that if Justin Smeja’s sierra killing story is anyway accurate he is convicting himself of being out of control with his hand is on the trigger. This is far worse than if a person under control deliberately gunned down two sasquatch for gain and not wasted the opportunity presented to science and possibly other sasquatches future welfare. He should have his gun licence taken away immediately not just to preserve sasquatch but any man women or child who may have wandered in front of his sights!

    Until then airforce47 you might be better advised to wear a rainbow coloured suit when you do your trips back to the Sierras such that you can’t be mistaken for a…bear?

    I am, based on evidence, a long term bigfoot believer just waiting for more illumination and information and revelations on the subject. I am optimistic about Dr. Ketchum’s findings but at this point accept there will be much trouble with peer review because of the history and nature of the subject and a failure of the majority of scientists to come to grips with it while hiding behind their sceptical laurels. They should accept bigfoot is different!!

  20. airforce47 responds:

    I tend to agree. Justin’s reported behavior is totally contrary to everything anybody is taught about hunting. However, my friend BB ran into a female Sasquatch who defied several axioms about what we believe or know about them. They normally don’t hang around after getting shot at yet she did and continued escalating intimidation behavior. She didn’t stop until it was a face to face showdown and it was either move forward to attack or get shot and then she fled.

    It may be a long time before we know the truth about Justin and for the record Dr. Ketchum did turn down my request for a clarification. She won’t say a word and we were polite and firm. I didn’t really expect she would but it was worth the effort.

    All I can suggest is go up to the area and see for yourself. It’s not hard to reach and the maps available are accurate and good.

    My best

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