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The search for Cole Brings Plenty (Mnicouju Lakota) has entered its fifth day, as authorities — along with family, friends, community members, and advocates — comb eastern Kansas for signs of the 27-year-old actor. 

Brings Plenty was last seen in the early morning hours of Sunday, March 31. His vehicle, a white 2005 Ford Explorer with chipped paint, was seen leaving Lawrence, Kansas and heading southbound on U.S. Highway 59. 

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Brings Plenty's phone has been off since he was last seen; however, detectives were able to use data from his phone to discern that he drove south that evening.

According to a statement posted on Facebook yesterday by the Lawrence Police Department, law enforcement used drones to search south of Lawrence yesterday afternoon. 

According to a Facebook post by the young actor’s father, Joseph Brings Plenty, authorities recovered video footage of Cole from a gas station in Baldwin City. The footage was captured at 3:12 a.m. on Sunday. Baldwin City is approximately 30 minutes south of Lawrence.

The elder Brings Plenty wrote that search teams think Cole headed east from Baldwin City, and today's search efforts will focus on that area. Volunteers are utilizing drones, kayaks, horses, and vehicles in the search and are seeking assistance from community members with access to aircraft. 

Moniquè Mercuri, an Indigenous  coordinator in the Lawrence community, is serving as point person for the Brings Plenty family.

"I have never met Cole, but this is my community and this is affecting my relatives," Mercuri said. She told Native News Online that the number of volunteers searching for Cole has doubled since yesterday, with approximately 100 people engaged in search efforts today.

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 also notes 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 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, a copy of which was obtained by Native News Online, Brings Plenty is being charged with aggravated residential burglary, aggravated domestic battery, and criminal restraint. The charges come with a $75,000 bond. 

Native News Online has submitted questions to the Lawrence Kansas Police Department via email. A representative from the police department responded, directing Native News Online to the department's Facebook page. Native News Online has been unable to verify if Brings Plenty disappearance is being treated as a missing persons case or a fugitive case. 

"First and foremost, we want to ensure the safety of his well being," Mercuri said. "That is a priority for us."

Mercuri urges members of the public who want to assist in the search for Cole to go through the proper channels and contact the official search party by calling her at 315-877-7727

"We are running a headquarters, and if we have people showing up and going into places, it may disrupt what we already have out there," Mercuri said. "So please contact us so we can make sure everything is smooth and orderly." 

Brings Plenty's case has drawn attention and caused speculation across social media, with posts and videos about his disappearance accumulating thousands of views and comments. It has also generated discussions of 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 Brings Plenty is 5’10” and between 145 and 150 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. If you have any information about Cole's whereabouts, please call the Lawrence Police Department at 785-832-7509 or 911 or the Kansas Bureau of Investigation at 785-296-4017. Anonymous tips may also be submitted to Crime Stoppers of Lawrence and Douglas County at 785-843-8477.

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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.