Hugo C. Montague was a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology and a former employee of the New York Museum of Natural History. His advisor was John Whittlesey. He disappeared five years before the events of Relic, in about 1990.
Montague helped John Whittlesey plan his 1987 expedition to the amazon basin. He did not accompany Whittlesey on the trip, but stayed behind at the museum and was in regular contact with the field team. After Whittlesey and Thomas Crocker disappeared in the jungle, Montague continued to receive telegrams from the expedition's co-leader Edward Maxwell. Maxwell blamed Whittlesey for the break-up of the expedition and painted his actions as unethical and irresponsible. Maxwell and the rest of the expedition team all died in a plane crash while returning to the United States.
The museum leadership wanted nothing more than to forget the disastrous expedition. When the specimen crates collected by the expedition finally arrived at the museum two years later, Montague had to beg for access to them. Most of the documentation collected by Whittlesey and Maxwell had burned up in the crash, so the crates were of little scientific value. Nevertheless, Montague was given the job of the initial curation.
Shortly afterwards, Montague disappeared suddenly. At the time, most of the few museum employees who knew him assumed he had simply grown tired of the museum and gone off to find himself. Nevertheless rumors swirled, that he had gotten into some kind of money or legal trouble, or that he had been killed by the Museum Beast. A few people surmised that Whittlesey had robbed a temple and that some of the artifacts he brought back were cursed.
It was later revealed that the museum's leaders, including assistant director Ian Cuthbert, knew more about Montague's disappearance. The security staff found a large amount of blood in the basement near the Whittlesey crates about the time that Montague went missing. Rather than get the police involved, they ordered the blood washed away. Montague, it seems, was an early victim in the string of killings that would be called the Museum Beast Murders.
Montague's body was found in Mbwun's lair about 1995. It was badly decomposed and had to be identified by dental records.