facebook app symbol  twitter  linkedin  instagram 1

The search for missing 27-year-old actor and Haskell Indian University student Cole Brings Plenty (Mnicouju Lakota) continued for the fifth day on Thursday. Cole was last seen and heard from in the early morning hours of Sunday, March 31. His vehicle, a white 2005 Ford Explorer with chipping paint, was seen exiting Lawrence, Kansas and heading southbound on U.S. Highway 59 on Sunday. 

Several members of his family, including his father, Joseph Brings Plenty, traveled from South Dakota to Lawrence yesterday evening to aid in search efforts. Joseph Brings Plenty spent a couple of hours meeting with law enforcement in Lawrence. 

Never miss Indian Country’s biggest stories and breaking news. Sign up to get our reporting sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning. 

On Wednesday, April 3, Joseph posted on Facebook: 

“Arrived in Lawrence around midnight, me my Cole Brings Plenty older brother Joe Brings Plenty Jr. and his girlfriend Shyanne LeBeau. We went to hwy 59, last place where my sons vehicle was seen heading. Wanted to see it at night, maybe how my son saw it. We found a stream and sang a prayer song. Called for my son, I know the mniwaconi will carry my voice, let Coco know his Tiwahe is here. We met with some of our relatives at the Haskell college. The college and students have a sacred fire built, they are gonna keep it burning until my son is found. They been doing searches and showed me a map of all the places they had searched already. One of the staff, Carrie allowed us to stay in her home. Thank you Haskell students and staff, love you all makes me feel like I can do this. 

The drive here has been the most difficult drive I’ve ever done. I cant stop thinking about my son. I see all the posts, I’ve been in Law Enforcement for most of my life, when it came to searches I never assumed, my first priority was to find the person and make sure they are alive and well. Anything legal thats being said about my son, let his accusers stand before him in a court of law, that has a place and a time for it. If my son was anything but a Lakota, the wording on the local PDs post would be different, the priority he would be a missng person. Anyone that knows my son knows this is out of character, that he wouldn’t just ghost his family and friends regardless. Something happened and I’m here to find out what and where my son is. The rest of my family will be here in Lawrence later today, I’m happy they are coming, not all could come, but we are here. My ciye Moe will be back in the area today as well. Anyone know anything about my son, please reach out to me. Anyone who values life, understands where I stand. Bliheciya! Hoka!”

On Tuesday, the Lawrence Police said in a statement posted on its Facebook page it has “submitted an affidavit to the District Attorney for the arrest of Cole after an incident Sunday morning at an apartment in Lawrence.” The post further states that on Sunday, March 31, officers responded to calls of a female screaming for help, noting that the suspect fled before police arrived. It is unclear as of yet how police identified Cole as the suspect.

A partially redacted police report obtained by Native News Online shows the 911 call was made at 2:54 a.m., with officers arriving at 2:58 a.m. Police left the scene at approximately 4 a.m. 

According to the warrant issued on April 3, 2024, obtained by Native News Online, Cole is being charged with aggravated residential burglary, aggravated domestic battery, and criminal restraint. The charges come with a $75,000 bond. 

Lawrence Police Department Update - Thursday, April 4, 2024

The Lawrence Kansas Police Department posted an update on the search for Cole on Facebook today, Thursday, April 4, at approximately 7:45 p.m. ET.

"Cole Brings Plenty has still not been found and LKPD continues to ask for the public’s help in locating him.

Our drone team worked most of the afternoon south of town to try to cover a lot of ground quickly - hoping to uncover any leads. We’re following up on all the calls and information coming in.

We’re in close contact with the family, who are very concerned as the days pass and are collaborating with the MMIWG2ST Chapter of Lawrence.

Detectives continue to follow leads since the events that occurred early Sunday morning. The details of the incident will not be discussed, as we’ve said, because of the nature of the ongoing investigation. Our immediate need is to locate Brings Plenty."

Cole’s case has drawn attention and speculation across social media, with posts and videos about his disappearance accumulating thousands of views and comments. It has also generated discussions of what is known as the  Missing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples (MMIP) Crisis. American Indian and Alaska Native peoples are at a disproportionate risk for violence, murder, and going missing. Jurisdictional gaps and systemic apathy leave many of these cases unsolved.

Cole is 5’10” and between 145 and 150 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. If you see Cole or his vehicle, call 911 or you can submit an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers of Lawrence and Douglas County at (785) 843-8477.

More Stories Like This

Former Sault Ste. Marie Chairperson Aaron Payment Making Comeback in Tribal Politics
California Assembly Passes Three Bills Aimed to Reduce Disproportionate Rates of Violence Against Native Americans
Eight Saint Regis Mohawk Citizens Arrested in Landback Protest
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to Host Hearing on Public Safety in Indian Country
Native Bidaské with Kevin Sharp on Leonard Peltier’s Upcoming Parole Hearing

These stories must be heard.

This May, we are highlighting our coverage of Indian boarding schools and their generational impact on Native families and Native communities. Giving survivors of boarding schools and their descendants the opportunity to share their stories is an important step toward healing — not just because they are speaking, but because they are being heard. Their stories must be heard. Help our efforts to make sure Native stories and Native voices are heard in 2024. Please consider a recurring donation to help fund our ongoing coverage of Indian boarding schools. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous-centered journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Author: Elyse WildEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Elyse Wild is senior editor for Native News Online and Tribal Business News.