WASHINGTON, DC – There’s a concern and call for action following the death of a 14-year-old Lame Deer girl.
US Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) released a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and acting BIA Director Darryl LaCounte on Tuesday.
Sen. Tester stated the response to Henny Scott’s disappearance was inadequate and she isn’t the first. The Democrat said the delayed, ineffective responses on Indian Reservations are a trend and there needs to be a much higher standard to protect citizens in Indian Country.
Statistics show that at least 24 Native Americans went missing in Montana in 2018. A majority of them were women and some have never been found. The National Crime Information Center cited 5,712 reports of slain or missing Native American women and girls in 2016. However, only 116 of those cases were logged into a department of justice database.
A bill — Savanna’s Act — to help in reporting and finding missing persons — and to reduce violence on Reservations — failed to pass through the US House of Representatives during the last congressional session. The senator who was leading its way, North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, lost in November’s midterms. Now, senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines (R-MT) have picked up the bill to take it forward.
(January 5, 2019) About 200 people were at Lame Deer High School Friday night to celebrate the life of 14-year-old Henny Scott, who was found dead on the Northern Cheyenne reservation Dec. 28.
Pastor Dennis Bauer offered words of comfort and talked of feelings of anger, but he also encouraged all to pray for investigating Scott’s death.
Her mother, Paula Stops, said she was focused on Scott’s smile and compassion for others.
“She could walk into a room, and she could just light it up. If you’re having a bad day, she’d go up to you and [say], ‘Are you OK? How you feeling today?’” Stops said. “She was everywhere. I know everyone is gonna miss her in these halls and miss her at home, but you know she put her feelings behind to make sure you were OK.”
Next Wednesday, a walk in Scott’s memory will be held from the Lame Deer BIA office to the Little Wolf Capitol.
That day, Jan. 9, would have been Scott’s 15th birthday.
Authorities are conducting an autopsy and have not released the cause of death.