There are currently 68 missing Indigenous people in South Dakota as of the end of April, according to the South Dakota Attorney General’s Missing Person’s clearinghouse database.
In the past, the Argus Leader has highlighted a few of the missing cases as well as cases where a person’s body was found, but their killer was never caught. Here's a closer look at a few of those cases are below, compiled from either the state database or previous news coverage.
This is by no means an exhaustive list since there are women, children and men who aren’t included on the AG’s database.
Facebook groups highlight their own cases and the Sovereign Bodies Institute has a database that is only accessible for tribal members.
If you think someone is missing from this list, reach out to Annie Todd at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Missing Indigenous women from South Dakota
Delema Lou Sits Poor
Went missing: Feb. 1, 1974
What Happened: Sits Poor was walking to Manderson from Oglala near the Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation, with her friend on a day when it was near-freezing. During the walk, her friend had frostbite on her fingers and turned back to go home. Sits Poor was never seen again. Police believe she is dead.
Donna Marie Larrabee
Went missing: Nov. 17, 1976
What Happened: Larrabee, 16, from Rapid City, took a bus to California to visit her father. It's unknown if she arrived, and she's never been seen since. Larrabee is a member of the Cheyenne Sioux Tribe.
Sharon Bald Eagle
Went missing: Sept. 19, 1984
What Happened: Bald Eagle, 12, and a friend were picked up hitchhiking near Casper, Wyoming, after running away from the Brainerd Indian Training School in Hot Springs, South Dakota. Royal Russell Long took the girls to his home in Evansville, Wyoming, where he tied them up and threatened them at gunpoint. Bald Eagle’s friend was able to escape and call for help, but by the time law enforcement arrived Long and Bald Eagle were gone. Long was arrested in Albequerque, New Mexico, a week later, and he denied knowing where Bald Eagle was.
Bald Eagle’s father, Taylor, a tribal judge, has spent years raising awareness about his missing daughter. He told the Rapid City Journal in 2020 he still believes Sharon is alive.
Went missing: Oct. 3, 2016
What Happened: Lonehill, 21, disappeared after she texted her cousin that she was going to a party with two friends. Police believe she died, and have offered a $5,000 reward in 2017 for any information that might help them find her remains.
Unsolved murders of Indigenous women from South Dakota
Monica Bercier Wickre
Went Missing: April 7, 1993
Found: June 16, 1993
What happened: Wickre, 42, was last seen getting into a car at The Body Shop, a former bar in Aberdeen. She knew two of the three people in the car. Her friends recall dropping her off with the other man in their car near is vehicle. Two months later, Wicker’s body was found in the James River outside of Aberdeen. Her body was so decomposed that investigators were unable to determine how she died. Investigators suspected foul play and treated the case like a homicide.
Wickre’s family has put up a $10,000 reward for anyone who comes forward with information about her murder.
No photo available
Died: Feb. 27, 2003
What Happened: Ironroad, 20, was staying with a friend in McLaughlin when she went to a party in late-Feburary 2003. She was found in a locked bathroom the morning of Feb. 20, after having been raped multiple times the night before. Ironroad was taken to a Bismarck, North Dakota, hospital, where she died on Feb. 27. While she made a statement to the BIA agent on her case, no rape kit was ever done, and there were too few resources at the time for her case to be investigated.
A National Public Radio investigation dove into Ironroad’s rape and death in 2007 and found that Ironroad’s case had gotten lost in a pile of cases the BIA was investigating. A year later, the BIA reopened the case, but since then there have been no updates on who might have raped Ironroad and what led to her death.
Date missing: July 28, 2006
Body found: Aug. 23, 2006
What Happened: Eagleman, 33, was last seen after she told her mother she’d be going swimming with a couple of friends. Eagleman had just moved back to the Lower Brule Reservation, after divorcing her partner. A month later, Eagleman’s naked body was found in a remote area of the reservation. Police determined her cause of death to be blunt force trauma.
In 2016, a $10,000 reward was offered for information about her death.
Jessie Renae Waters
Body found: April 30, 2015
What Happened: Waters had been out with her ex-boyfriend drinking, when her body was found a mile off of U.S. Highway 18 on the Pine Ridge Reservation. During the autopsy, it was determined Waters was three months pregnant. Three weeks before she died, Waters had filed a protection order against her ex-boyfriend. Her ex-boyfriend was also convicted of setting fire to the mobile home Waters lived in.
Sherry Ann Wounded Foot
Died: Aug. 17, 2016
What Happened: Wounded Foot, 50, Porcupine, was found beaten and unconscious in Whiteclay, Nebraska on Aug 5, 2016. She died 12 days later on Aug. 17, 2016, on the Pine Ridge Reservation after she was transferred from the Indian Health Clinic in Pine Ridge to a hospital in Rapid City for her wounds, including brain surgery. No one has been charged in connection to beating her. Wounded Foot's case is under investigation by the Nebraska State Patrol and the Oglala Sioux Tribal police department.
Follow Annie Todd on Twitter @AnnieTodd96. Reach out to her with tips, questions and other community news at email@example.com or give her a call at 605-215-3757.
This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Who are South Dakota's missing, murdered Indigenous women?