This week, NBC News is featuring in-depth and exclusive coverage on missing and murdered Indigenous women, as part of The Vanished series. Dateline has put together the still-unresolved cases of some of the missing and murdered Indigenous women we have covered in our digital series Dateline: Missing in America and Cold Case Spotlight in the hope of bringing continued awareness to their cases and to get answers for their loved ones.
Kimberly Iron, 21, left her Billings, Montana home on September 22, 2020, leaving her three children behind with their grandparents in Hardin, Montana.
Kimberly grew up on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana with her family, but for most of the prior year, she had been staying in Billings. On September 22, she contacted her father, Curtis Iron, from Las Vegas, Nevada and from Oxnard, California, saying she was upset and needed money to get home.
But Curtis told Dateline that Kimberly never gave him her exact location and would go silent for days. He said the calls that were made were brief and that his daughter was always 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.
Kimberly last contacted her father, who lives on the Crow Indian Reservation, on October 6, 2020. No one has seen or heard from her since.
A missing persons report was filed with the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office in Hardin. Captain J. Middlestead told Dateline that Kimberly’s disappearance is being investigated and is considered an active missing persons case.
“We need to know that she’s OK,” 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”, weighs approximately 126 lbs., and has brown eyes and light brown hair. She also has a small scar between her eyes.
Anyone who might have information on Kimberly’s whereabouts is asked to call the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office at 406-665-9780. Her case number is #20-01288.
Selena Not Afraid
Selena Not Afraid, a 16-year-old member of two Indian nations, the Crow and Nakota, was last seen on New Year’s Day 2020 at the I-90 rest stop between Billings and Hardin, Montana.
According to Big Horn County Sheriff’s officials, Selena was among six people driving from Billings to Hardin when their car broke down. It eventually started again and four people left, leaving Selena and a friend at the rest stop. The driver of the vehicle called a relative to pick up the two girls left behind. When the relative arrived, the friend was still there, but Selena was not. The friend told detectives that Selena had walked off into a nearby field. Family members were worried because they said this wasn’t like her and she was insufficiently dressed for the temperature that had dipped below freezing.
For 13 days, Selena’s family, friends, members of various tribes and the general public, camped out at the same rest area in an effort to find clues in the teen’s disappearance - and to make a statement about not giving up.
On January 20, 2020, Selena’s body was found about a mile from the rest stop where she was last seen, authorities said.
In December 2020, an investigation into her death concluded that Selena died as a result of hypothermia. The death was ruled accidental.
Selena’s aunt, Cheryl Horn, told Dateline in a January 2020 interview that she would continue to be a voice for missing and murdered Native American women, even after Selena was found.
"A large percentage of these missing girls are Indigenous," Cheryl said. "But this is not just an Indigenous problem. This is a human problem. And right now, I have a voice. You have a voice. Those who are missing do not have a voice, and we need to be that voice for them."
The Montana Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation continues to investigate the circumstances surrounding Selena’s death. If you have information that can help, please call 406-444-3874.
Faith Lindsey went missing from the Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, apartment she shared with her boyfriend, Tanner Washington, on October 28, 2019.
Faith’s sister, Justice, told Dateline in December 2019 that a panicked Washington texted her that night and said he couldn’t find Faith. Shortly after, Justice said she began receiving suspicious hang up calls and strange messages with misspellings from her sister’s phone.
Throughout the investigation, agents developed probable cause that Washington was responsible for Faith’s death, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI).
On December 19, 2019, the Del City Police arrested Washington at a 7-Eleven in Del City, Oklahoma, and charged him with first-degree murder.
However, due to the Supreme Court’s McGirt ruling in August 2020, which changed the way state authorities prosecute Native Americans, Washington filed to have the case dropped because the alleged crime took place on Native American land. The case was dismissed in Pontotoc County.
But in May 2021, a federal complaint for first-degree murder against Washington was filed in federal court. According to the new criminal complaint, Washington willfully and maliciously shot Lindsey on or about October 27, 2019. He has pleaded not guilty.
Court documents state that blood was found on Washington’s clothes, and following search warrants obtained by the OSBI, the same blood was found in the car he was driving and a truck he had just sold. The blood found was a biological match to DNA provided by Lindsey’s parents.
The OSBI is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the location of Faith’s body.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the OSBI at 800-522-8017 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sabrina Rosette, a 33-year-old mother of two, was murdered at Tl’esqox (Toosey Reserve) First Nation near Williams Lake, British Columbia, Canada, on June 8, 2019.
Williams Lake RCMP responded to a community member’s driveway that evening to find Sabrina with a knife wound to her side. Despite life-saving efforts, she died at the scene.
Sabrina’s sister, Liz Rosette, told Dateline she saw her earlier that morning, driving around with a man they both knew. The same man, whose name has not been released by police, was taken into police custody at the scene. He was later released without being charged. No one has been arrested or charged with Sabrina’s murder.
Police investigated two crime scenes at the time, the area where Sabrina’s body was found, as well as “Lover’s Leap,” a popular party hangout. But details of any evidence found at either location have not been released.
Police told Dateline that the case remains a priority investigation and that they are fully committed to getting answers for the family and making sure those responsible are held accountable.
Sabrina’s sister and their father, Alfred Jack, say the tragedy has divided their community on the reserve, but they continue to plead for answers while staying brave for Sabrina’s sons, who are now ages 6 and 16.
Sabrina was described by her family as an easygoing, kind soul with a sense of humor that could brighten anyone’s day. She was also a hard worker, who fought fires and assisted with flood patrol on the reserve. Her sister added that Sabrina was very determined to do her very best in all aspects of her life.
And now her family is determined to do their best to never let Sabrina be forgotten.
Anyone with information about Sabrina’s case is urged to call the Williams Lake RCMP at 250 392-6211 or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
Cecelia Barber Finona
On May 30, 2019, Cecelia Barber Finona, a 59-year-old Navajo woman, vanished from her home in Farmington, New Mexico, following an argument with her boyfriend, Jerry Jay.
Cecelia’s daughter, Julietta Faria, told Dateline the last time she spoke to her mother was the day before she disappeared. She added that when they spoke, Cecelia had been excited for her nephew’s upcoming graduation.
Cecelia was reported missing on June 1, 2019, when family members were unable to reach her and became concerned when they learned she and her white Ford truck were gone, but her purse and driver’s license were left behind, court documents revealed. The family told the Farmington Police Department that Cecilia and her boyfriend had been arguing before she disappeared. Detectives conducted a search of Cecelia’s home and discovered evidence that led them to be concerned for her safety.
On June 5, 2019, Cecelia’s boyfriend, Jerry Jay, was arrested after police say he used her card at an ATM in Las Vegas, Nevada. They say he also used her cards in Farmington, New Mexico, Window Rock, Arizona and Kingman, Arizona, police said. Jay pleaded guilty and is serving time in a Nevada prison.
In February 2020, nearly a year after Cecelia vanished, human remains were found in Clark County, Nevada. The remains were identified through DNA on June 30, 2020 as belonging to Cecelia.
Following the identification, police charged Jerry Jay with first-degree murder. He was also with charged with kidnapping, and tampering with evidence. Once released from prison in Nevada, Jay will be extradited to New Mexico to face the new charges.
Farmington Police told Dateline in 2021 that foul play was suspected from the beginning. According to court documents unsealed in 2021, blood found at Cecelia’s home stretched from the bottom of the porch to the driveway and it appeared someone had tried to cover it with potting soil. A “single eyeglass lens covered in blood” was also found, police said.
Anyone with more information about Cecelia’s case is asked to contact Detective Daven Badoni at 505-599-1005 or the Farmington Police Department tip hotline at 505-599-1068.
Jermain “Liz” Morigeau
Jermain “Liz” Morigeau, also known by the name Jermain Charlo, was last seen in the early morning hours of June 16, 2018 in Missoula, Montana.
Detective Guy Baker with the Missoula Police Department told Dateline in 2018 that the 23-year-old had been seen with an acquaintance she knew very well, who dropped her off in the vicinity of Orange and South 5th Street between midnight and 1 a.m., in the general area where she lived. The detective declined to name the acquaintance, who among others has been questioned, to protect the integrity of the investigation.
“There’s a couple different investigative aspects we are looking at,” Detective Baker told Dateline at the time. “I believe she is the victim of a criminal act. I don’t know if it’s homicide, sex trafficking, or kidnapping. But aspects of the investigation have led us to believe those are the options.”
Jermain is Native American and described as being 5’9” and weighing about 130 lbs. She was last seen wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt with a brown Under Armour sweatshirt, cowboy boots, and a baseball cap with three trees on it.
If you have any information on Jermain’s whereabouts, call the Missoula Police Department at 406-552-6300.
Khadijah Britton, 23, a Round Valley tribal member, was last seen at a residence in Covelo, California, on Friday, February 8, 2018, when witnesses say she was abducted and forced into a car at gunpoint by her ex-boyfriend, Negie Fallis.
Fallis has never been formally charged in connection to Khadijah’s disappearance, but Mendocino County Sheriff Matthew Randall says he is considered a person of interest. He is currently serving time at a state prison on unrelated charges.
In February 2021, Mendocino County Sheriff Matthew Kendall, along with the San Francisco Division of the FBI announced a renewed effort to seek information from the public. A reward of $120,000 is being offered for information that leads to Khadijah’s whereabouts.
Khadijah’s grandfather, Ronnie Hostler, is 79 years old and continues to search for her as he pleads with the public to come forward, hoping to one day bring peace and closure to their family.
Anyone with information about Khadijah’s whereabouts is urged to call the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office at 707-234-2100.
Olivia Lone Bear
Olivia Lone Bear, a 32-year-old mother of five, vanished from the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, in New Town, North Dakota, on October 24, 2017. She had been out with friends at the Sportsman’s Bar, and was last seen leaving the bar in a teal Chevy Silverado 2500 HD LT.
Her brother, Matthew, told Dateline in 2018, that it did appear Olivia came home after leaving Sportsman’s, adding that family members later found her cell phone, wallet, and money at her home on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. In the home, family also found the items of clothing Olivia was last seen wearing.
After Olivia hadn’t responded to phone calls for two days, her family reported her missing to authorities, which sparked several widespread searches of the reservation and much of western North Dakota. On July 31, 2018, Olivia’s truck was discovered submerged in Lake Sakakawea on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. Her body was in the passenger seat, with the seat belt securing her in place. An autopsy was conducted and a cause of death was ruled undetermined.
The FBI is seeking more information in this case and is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to the identification of those responsible for Olivia’s disappearance and death. Anyone with information is urged to call 800-CALLFBI (800-225-5324) or file tips at https://tips.fbi.gov.
Ashley Loring Heavyrunner
Ashley Loring Heavyrunner, also known as Ashley Loring, was only 20 years old when she disappeared from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana on June 5, 2017.
She was enrolled in Blackfeet Community College studying environmental science.
Her family began their own search efforts and two weeks after Ashley was last seen, the family received a tip. Someone had seen a young woman running from a vehicle on U.S. Highway 89 on the reservation the night Ashley disappeared.
Her sister, Kimberly Loring, said they gathered to search the area, which she described as being desolate. During the search, at the northern edge of the reservation, Kimberly and a family friend discovered a tattered sweater and a pair of red-stained boots. The family is certain that the items belong to Ashley, adding that the sweater was identified by an eyewitness who told the family it was the same as the sweater Ashley was wearing the night she disappeared.
Kimberly told Dateline that the sweater and boots were handed over to law enforcement for DNA testing, but added they have still not received any results.
In 2018, Kimberly appeared before the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C. to speak about her experience and what she believes was the mismanagement of evidence she says she witnessed from law enforcement in her sister’s case.
In 2020, the documentary “Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible” spotlighted the Blackfeet Nation Boxing Club which opened its doors to girls, teaching them how to protect themselves and fight for their lives.
The documentary refers to a common saying in Native American communities, “When an Indigenous woman goes missing, she goes missing twice — first her body vanishes and then her story.”
A spokesperson for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Robyn Broyles, told Dateline in June 2021 that "the BIA, the Office of Justice Services, Missing and Murdered Unit did receive some recent tips related to the case that officers followed up with, but those did not result in any new information."
Ashley is described as being 5’2” and weighing about 90 lbs. at the time of her disappearance. She has brown hair and brown eyes. She would be 24 years old today.
A walk is held in Browning, Montana every year in honor of Ashley and other missing and murdered Indigenous people.
Anyone with information on Ashley’s case is asked to call the Salt Lake City FBI – which covers Utah, Montana and Idaho - at 801-579-1400 or 800-CALLFBI or tips.fbi.gov.
Faith Hedgepeth was beaten to death with an empty liquor bottle in the early morning hours of September 7, 2012, at her off-campus apartment near Chapel Hill, North Carolina after returning from a nightclub.
She was a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a member of the Haliwa-Saponi Native American tribe.
Security footage shows Faith and her roommate, Karena, arriving at the now-closed nightclub “The Thrill” in downtown Chapel Hill and then again later when they left around 2:30 a.m. Karena later told police that after they arrived home, she left for the night and Faith went to bed.
The next morning, Karena said she returned home to find Faith’s partially nude body, wrapped in a comforter that had been on the bed and called 911. According to the call that was later released, Karena told the operator that she found Faith unconscious in the bedroom. When asked if Faith was breathing, she responded, “I don’t know. I don’t think so. There’s blood everywhere.”
The police investigation stretched on for two years. In 2014, just days before the second anniversary of Faith’s murder, Durham County court officials unsealed documents in the search for her killer.
The autopsy report, which was also unsealed at that time, revealed what her family already knew. Faith had died from blunt force trauma to the head. The report also detailed cuts and bruises on her arms and legs, along with blood under her fingernails.
Investigators believe the murder weapon to be an empty Bacardi rum bottle that was found in the bedroom with tissue fragments and DNA on it. Also found in the bedroom near Faith’s body was a fast-food bag with a hand-written note that read, “IM NOT STUPID. BITCH.”
Male DNA was found at the scene, but her killer has not been found.
A DNA profile was created from DNA collected from the scene and semen collected in a sexual assault kit. Investigators believe the DNA belongs to the killer, Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue said in a 2014 press conference.
In 2016, police released an image generated by Parabon NanoLabs, a genetic testing lab in Reston, Virginia, of what the suspect who left the semen behind might look like based on the phenotype in his DNA profile. According to Parabon, the suspect was of Native American and European mixed ancestry or Latino with olive skin, brown or hazel eyes and black hair.
Police and family members believe Faith likely knew the person or persons involved in her murder.
Approximately 2,000 people have been questioned and the DNA of more than 100 people has been tested, Assistant Chapel Hill Police Chief Celisa Lehew told Dateline in April of 2020.
But nine years later, there’s still not a match.
Faith not only made an impact when she was alive, but her legacy lives on now with the Faith Hedgepeth Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is offered to help a Native American woman from a North Carolina tribe earn a higher education.
“She wanted to help people. That was her dream,” her mother Connie told Dateline. “Now she’s helping women like herself every year.”
The family is offering a $40,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for Faith’s murder.
Anyone with information about Faith’s case should contact the Chapel Hill Police Department at 919-614-6363 or go to http://www.crimestoppers-chcunc.org.
On Thursday, September 16, 2021, Miguel Enrique Olivares was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Faith Hedgepeth. He is being held at Durham County Detention Facility under no bond. Police would not give details on whether there was a relationship between Faith and Olivares because the case is still active, but confirmed he was not a person of interest at the beginning of the investigation.
Sherryl Lynn Jacquot
Sherryl Lynn Jacquot was last heard from on July 3, 1999, when she called her mother from an unknown number in Arkansas to let her know she’d come by her house in Oklahoma City to pay back some money she had borrowed the previous week. She never made it, and hasn’t been seen since. Her Datsun pickup truck is also missing.
The week before she vanished, when Sherryl showed up to borrow money, her mother and sister found her to be in pretty bad shape, family told Dateline. They said she had cuts on her back and feet, which Sherryl said she had gotten when she stumbled and fell onto a glass-top table during an argument with her boyfriend at their home in Stilwell, Oklahoma. She refused to go to the hospital.
Sherryl’s daughter, Lindsey Long, who grew up mostly in Pennsylvania with her father’s family, was 14 when her mother disappeared. They had drifted apart in recent years, Lindsey told Dateline. But on the very day Sherryl vanished, Lindsey said she tried to reach out to her mother by phone and got no answer. She is still looking for answers.
“Someone took away my mom. She wasn’t there for my proms, my wedding or the birth of my child,” Lindsey said. “I’ve felt the loss for so many years. I just try to live in the now. We’d just like to find her so we can put her to rest.”
The Facebook page “Missing: Sherryl Lynn Jacquot - Stilwell, OK” was created to bring awareness to Sherryl’s case and as a place for tips to be shared.
At the time of her disappearance, Sherryl was 5'8”, weighed about 125 lbs., had black hair and brown eyes, a Harley tattoo on her left forearm and a Harley wings tattoo on her right hip. She is of Native American descent. She would be 65 years old today.
Anyone with information that could help solve Sherryl’s case is asked to call the OSBI Cold Case Unit at 405-330-6724, or by email at email@example.com.
Monica L. Bercier Wickre
Monica L. Bercier Wickre vanished on April 7, 1993 after being out with friends at a bar called The Body Shop in Aberdeen, South Dakota, where she lived.
Monica was born and raised in Belcourt, North Dakota on the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa reservation.
That night, she caught a ride with a couple she knew and a man she did not know. It was the last time she was seen alive.
On June 16, 1993, her badly decomposed body was found by a passerby in a canoe in the James River just outside of Aberdeen. Her killer has never been caught.
The family is offering $10,000 to anyone who comes forward with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Monica’s killer.
The family continues to bring awareness about Monica’s case with the Justice4Monica Facebook page in the hope that someone will come forward with information that may help solve it. A billboard was placed on Dakota Street in Aberdeen, South Dakota in June 2020.
Monica’s case is of many mentioned in Savanna's Act or the #MMIW Act, which reforms law enforcement and justice protocols appropriate to addressing missing and murdered Native women. An initial version of the bill passed the U.S. Senate on December 6, 2018.
The bill was named after Fargo, North Dakota resident Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, who was murdered in August 2017, and is just one name that represents the horrific statistics regarding abuse and homicide of Indigenous women.
Monica’s daughter, Tonya Hertel, told Dateline she often wonders why stories of Native women aren’t given the attention they deserve and said she hopes by sharing her mother’s story and continuing to fight for justice, it will give others hope to be a voice for the voiceless.
“For so long I felt like I didn’t have a voice,” Tonya said. “But today, I feel like I have a voice. And I feel like a voice has finally been given to my mother.”
Anyone with information about Monica’s case is asked to call the Brown County Sheriff’s Office at 605-626-7100.