Nearly a month has passed since 21-year-old mother of three Kimberly Iron left her Billings, Montana home and her family is concerned for safety.
“We’re just very worried,” Kimberly’s father, Curtis Iron, told Dateline. “Her kids keep asking about her. When I go visit them, they look in my truck and say, ‘Is our mom with you?’ It just breaks my heart.”
Kimberly grew up on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana with her family, but for most of the past year, she had been staying in Billings, Montana.
Her father said his daughter didn’t often leave the state so he was surprised when she called him from Las Vegas, Nevada on September 22. She was in tears as she told him she was in Las Vegas with some people and her boyfriend, who had just been arrested.
“She was crying and really upset,” Curtis explained. “She was trying to get home.”
But Kimberly never gave him her exact location and would go silent for days. She later called from different phone numbers and stated she was in places like Oxnard, California and on the way to Long Beach. The calls were brief and Curtis said that his daughter was on speakerphone. She told him she was OK, but he didn’t believe her. Each time he would try to call the numbers back, he said they were disconnected.
The most recent call was placed on October 6, 2020. Curtis said the number was traced back to the Los Angeles area.
“Something didn’t add up,” he said. “She was always on speakerphone. So the people she was with - whoever they were - could hear everything she was saying. She would tell me that she was OK, but she didn’t sound OK to me. She didn’t sound like herself.”
Curtis told Dateline that he believes his daughter is now being held against her will andhe fears she may be the victim of a sex trafficking ring.
“It’s not like her to just take off like this,” Curtis said. “She wouldn’t leave her kids. Something isn’t right. If she’s safe, then all she has to do is tell the police. But that’s not happening. So to me, something is wrong.”
A missing persons report was filed with the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office in Hardin, Montana. Captain J. Middlestead told Dateline that Kimberly’s disappearance is being investigated and is considered an active missing persons case.
“We believe that at this time, Kimberly Iron is in the Greater Los Angeles area,” Capt. Middlestead said. “We know she has contacted her family, but until she notifies law enforcement, this is still considered to be a missing persons case.”
While the family told Dateline they believe Kimberly could be in danger, Captain Middlestead said he could not elaborate further on whether or not foul play is suspected in her current situation.
“We’re doing everything we can to locate her and if anyone has information that could help, we urge them to call the sheriff’s office,” Capt. Middlestead added. “Any little bit helps.”
One of Kimberly’s grandmothers, Marilyn Chief, told Dateline that some of Kimberly’s family and friends have tried to reach her through social media.
“She has responded, but it doesn’t make sense,” she said. “The responses are short and odd. They don’t sound like her. We feel like someone is messing with us.”
Marilyn, who also lives on the Crow Indian Reservation, told Dateline she stepped in to help after suffering several losses in her own immediate family, including the unsolved murders of her brother, her son and one of her grandchildren.
“The life we live on this reservation - we never get justice,” Marilyn said. “But we still fight for it. What we’ve already been through was so tragic. Now this. That’s why I knew I had to step in. We need a plan. A plan to bring her home safe.”
Family and friends distributed fliers in their community and on social media and are trying to raise money to travel to California for a larger search effort. Kimberly’s children, who continue to ask about her, are being cared for by their grandparents in Hardin.
“We need to know that she’s OK,” Kimberly’s father, Curtis, told Dateline. “Her kids are missing her so much and just want her back home. We have hope… Just gotta hold on to that.”
Kimberly is 5’2” tall, weighs approximately 126 pounds and has brown eyes and light brown hair. She also has a small scar between her eyes.
Anyone who might have information about Kimberly’s whereabouts is asked to call the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office at (406) 665-9780. Her case number is #20-01288.