The Native American woman disappeared in June 2017, and remains unaccounted for.
If you follow my work on Medium, you probably know that I’m a retired police officer and forensic child interviewer. And you might be aware that the majority of my work, centers around missing and murdered women. I have a passion for doing my part to keep these cases alive — because these women and girls are out there somewhere. And they deserve to come home. They deserve justice, and their families and friends deserve some sense of closure as to their whereabouts.
In June 2017, a Native American woman by the name of Ashley Loring HeavyRunner went missing from the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, Montana. Not long before she went missing, she had told her sister Kimberly that she planned to do her part to help find missing Native American women. And then she became a victim of the very thing that she wanted to help with. Ashley was 20 at the time of her disappearance. She was last seen alive on June 13th of that year. She has not been located, and while authorities say that the case remains open, there are no new leads in Ashley’s case.
One of many who disappear
According to the Montana Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Task Force, there were over 3,000 Native American people reported missing in Montana, between 2017 and 2019. Over 80% were under the age of 18. While a large majority of them were later found, many remain unaccounted for. Many of those missing, are receiving little to no work on their cases from the authorities. It’s a sad reality, that when Native American women and girls turn up missing, they suffer from a lack of media attention. Because they are Native American, it’s perceived by some that they are simply not as important as missing White women. That’s a bold statement to make, but I believe it to be true. And therein lies part of the problem of locating these women and girls. If they don’t get the attention that White women receive, how are we as a society supposed to stay vigilant? We can’t stay focused on something that we don’t know about. And this must stop.
I’ve written in previous stories, that one factor in the problem, is that our country lacks a solid database to track missing Indigenous women and girls…