Update 5:23 p.m. Crow Tribal Chairman A.J. Not Afraid announced Thursday that he is asking Montana Attorney General Tim Fox's office to assist in the investigation of the death of his niece Selena Not Afraid of Hardin.
"Selena's death, and the unsolved cases of so many other missing and murdered indigenous people, can no longer be the result of segregated resources and divided communities. A unified approach amongst our communities is long overdue- and it may be the only way to keep our children safe," Not Afraid said in a statement.
The body of Selena Not Afraid was found Monday near an I90 rest stop between Hardin and Billings where she'd been reportedly last spotted three weeks prior.
A preliminary autopsy reported conducted Wednesday showed cause of death was hypothermia, but Big Horn County Attorney Jay Harris said his office is continuing to investigate possible criminal activity.
Here is A.J. Not Afraid's full statement:
A preliminary autopsy report indicates Selena Not Afraid died of hypothermia, Big Horn County Undersheriff Eric Winburn said Thursday afternoon.
A final report will not be ready until toxicology reports are finished, which could take another several weeks, he said.
County Attorney Jay Harris said in a news release that the preliminary results did not indicate physical injuries consistent with an assault or physical abuse. The evidence is consistent with death by exposure to the elements, but an official cause of death will be made pending the full toxicology report.
Winburn said there were no signs of the body being moved to the spot it was found. Harris' office is investigating Not Afraid's death as a possible criminal matter.
Not Afraid was reported missing on Jan.1 after reportedly being left at a rest stop between Billings and Hardin. Her body was found Monday by professional trackers from the U.S. Department of Interior after doing a grid search of the area, about a mile and a half from the rest stop.
Winburn said all the investigative reports still need to be completed before turning over to the County Attorney Jay Harris' office.
The autopsy was conducted by Montana's chief medical examiner, Dr. Robert Kurtzman, at the Montana Crime Lab in Billings.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.