‘We are in need’: Bill would help missing person searches

Nora Mabie

Diana Burd holds a photo of Arden Pepion during a hearing on HB18 before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday, Jan. 20, 2023. The bill aims to bolster community-led search efforts by providing formal training, resources and structure. 

THOM BRIDGE, Independent Record

When 3-year-old Arden Pepion went missing on the Blackfeet Reservation in 2021, more than 150 members of the Blackfeet community showed up to search for her.

They brought dogs and flashlights. They learned how to ward off bears, and they waded through rivers.

When a loved one goes missing, Native families often get tangled in a web of criminal jurisdictions shared among state, federal and tribal law enforcement entities. Frustrated with law enforcement response and a general lack of media coverage and public outcry, Indigenous families often turn to their communities for immediate assistance in finding loved ones.

Their searches rarely get the attention and public assistance that missing white people receive, to the point sociologists have a special term for the difference. “Missing White Woman Syndrome” refers to the idea that young white women — and

View Source