Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst has released her office’s 2016 annual report, containing an increase in the number of crimes reported in 2015.

“We certainly are seeing an increase in the overall crime rate locally,” Pabst said from her office on Wednesday. “It’s good to run all these numbers every year and then step back and see the direction we’re going so that we can respond appropriately. We had a total of 1,903 cases that we processed in this office last year. There were 671 felony filings, the misdemeanors were 1,182, and there were 50 juvenile cases. That total puts us not quite 200 more than we had in 2015.”

Pabst said there were a number of high-profile cases that were prosecuted by her office in 2016.

“You’re all familiar with the Scott Price and Sarah McKnight cases involving the deliberate homicide of Lonnette Keehner at the Super 8 Motel and the attempted deliberate homicide with the stabbing of a woman at the Missoula Fresh market,” she said. “Both of them were sentenced essentially to spending the rest of their lives in prison.”

Pabst said there was at least one notable sex crime prosecuted, as well.

“Suzy Boylen and Brian Lowney, two of the top litigators in our Special Victims Unit, handled the case against Nathaniel Lake for sexually assaulting a woman at a public park, and he was found guilty back in March.”

Pabst said one of her top deputies, Karla Painter, prosecuted an important financial fraud case.

“She handled the case against Sarah Snyder who exploited an older gentleman,” she said. “She took advantage of him after his wide died and stole almost a quarter of a million dollars, and she was found guilty at trial, as well.”

Pabst said she and her staff are currently preparing for the Emmanuel Gomez trial.

“He is alleged to have committed deliberate homicide against his live-in girlfriend, and that trial starts next Wednesday in Missoula District Court.”

The entire annual report is attached to the story.

Pabst appears weekly on KGVO’s Talk Back Radio show with a report from her office.