BUTTE, Mont. — Butte authorities are investigating the break-in of a soldier’s home in Butte while he is deployed in the Middle East.
The home's interior is nearly destroyed. Some local volunteers are working on repairs before the soldier returns home in the fall.
The soldier, who asked to remain anonymous, was deployed last year. It wasn't until March when friends of his discovered people were squatting in his house, according to the mother of his child, Kelly Klamp.
Klamp and a friend noticed the squatters after suspicious behavior in and around the house.
That’s when Butte veterans came in to assist.
"It made me feel like I didn’t want anyone else to experience that,” Klamp said.
Klamp said at least two people were squatting in the soldier’s home for three to five weeks
"There were things that were being prepped to go out for trade, barter, sale, pawn -- a lot of my son’s things. He's just a little boy. There was needles in his bed. As a mother, you can't explain how violated you feel,” Klamp said.
The house is off of Harrison Avenue in Butte. The soldier requested NBC Montana not identify the home.
Klamp said the home was winterized, and all doors were locked before the soldier left on deployment. Serving his country is something she said the soldier is especially proud of.
Klamp said there was no amount of preparation that could have prevented what happened, but she knew it was time to take action.
"Probably one of the best choices I ever made was to not give up and keep looking for help,” Klamp said.
Her persistence led her to James Long, of the southwest Montana Marine Corps League.
Long and nine others are volunteering their time to restore the soldier’s home before he comes back in the fall, but he said the two-page to-do list of cleanup work is far from cheap.
"We only have so much money we can put into it. We're hoping that their insurance company with the house can cover hopefully a large percentage of it, but it's not going to cover everything,” Long said.
As for remaining funds, Klamp said the soldier is sending money from overseas to assist.
"If we weren't doing what we're doing, he'd come home to nothing,” Klamp said.
NBC Montana reached out to the Butte-Silver Bow Police Department for an update on the investigation Friday, but we have not heard back.
If you’d like to help or donate, friends have set up a GoFundMe page here.