Sister of Missing Native American Woman Testifies in Congress
The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing on missing and murdered Native and Indigenous women on Wednesday demanded answers from the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the epidemic of missing and murdered persons in Indian country.
Montana Senator Steve Daines introduced Kimberly Loring Heavyrunner, whose sister Ashley is still missing.
“If law enforcement would have searched for my sister, if they had taken her disappearance seriously then we would have her with us today,” said Heavyrunner. “We wouldn’t have had to search for 18 months in three feet of snow while being chased by grizzly bears wondering, is my sister still alive in the mountains? Is my sister up there? If they would have taken her seriously as a person, because we are important and I believe that my sister would have been here and we would have closure.”
Heavyrunner challenged law enforcement agencies and the Bureau of Indian Affairs about their lack of effort in attempting to find her still missing sister.
“That’s what I’m here today to stress to you that I believe that law enforcement did not take Ashley’s case seriously, as well as other girls that have gone missing and murdered in Indian Country,” she said.
In the hearing, Daines questioned Deputy Associate Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), for not getting any answers for the Loring-Heavyrunner family. Daines doubled down on his concern and questioned why it took two months from the day Ashley went missing for the investigation to begin.