Selena Not Afraid

HARDIN, Mont. — Just three days after Selena Not Afraid’s body was recovered by a group of National Park Service searchers, the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office in Hardin, Montana says preliminary autopsy reports indicate the 16-year-old teen died of hypothermia.

Selena Not Afraid was the niece of Crow Tribal Chairman A.J. Not Afraid, who issued a statement on the loss being felt on the Crow Nation and in Indian Country.

“Loss of a loved one in such a tragic way has no prejudice,” said Chairman Not Afraid. “Why should we hold any prejudice against each other, when this a reality we all may face?”

Selena reportedly walked away from a rest area during the afternoon hours of January 1, 2020 after the van she was riding in with a group broke down. The van’s driver was able to start the vehicle and took off, accidentally leaving behind Selena and another person. Selena decided to walk and went missing until her body was recovered on Monday morning shortly after 10:30 a.m.

Given the high number of missing and murdered Indigenous females, Selena’s story became a national story.

The Sheriff’s Office statement said the Department of Interior brought in Fish & Game and parks service crews. Bureau of Indian Affairs officers from Crow and Northern Cheyenne, multiple FBI crews and the U.S. Attorney all helped with the search, as well as people from Mussellshell, Carbon and Yellowstone County law enforcement agencies.

The Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office does not believe there was any foul play in this case.

Support Independent Indigenous Journalism

Native News Online is an independent, Indigenous-led newsroom with a crucial mission:  We want to change the narrative about Indian Country. We do this by producing intelligent, fact-based journalism that tells the full story from all corners of Indian Country.  We pride ourselves on covering the tribes you may have never heard of before and by respecting and listening to the communities we serve through our reporting. As newsrooms across the country continue to shrink, coverage of Indian Country is more important than ever, and we are committed to filling this ever-present hole in journalism.

Because we believe everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities, the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. But we hope it inspires you to make a gift to Native News Online so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount, big or small, gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. 
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Levi Rickert
Author: Levi Rickert
Levi Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. He can be reached at [email protected]