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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.

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Levi Rickert
Author: Levi RickertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Levi Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected]