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Nora Mabie
Missoulian

From Aug. 16 to Aug. 30, at least 10 Native children — ages 11 to 17 — were reported missing in Montana.

Experts say they generally see an uptick in missing persons cases during the summer when the weather is warm and school is out of session.

Emilee Cantrell, press secretary for the Montana Department of Justice, wrote in an email there has been an “overall uptick in missing persons under the age of 21 recently, which is typical of what we’ve seen in previous years.”

A Montana Department of Justice report found that in 2021, more than 80 percent of the missing Indigenous people were under the age of 18. Dana Toole, special services bureau chief with the DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation, told Lee Montana newspapers in July that non-Native people under 18 also go missing at a higher rate than any other age.

(L-R) Ciara Wallette, 16, was last seen on Aug. 22, Heleena Bear, 14, was last seen on Aug. 28, Jacelyn Burd, 12, was last seen on Aug. 29, Jacob Running Crane, 16, was last seen on Aug. 22 and Mark Milender, 14, was last seen on Aug. 30. (Photos provided by Montana Missing Persons Database)

“We have a real problem in Montana with youth being reported missing,” she said at the time.

As of Tuesday morning, there were 185 reported missing people in Montana. Of those, 48, or 26 percent are Indigenous.

Missing Indigenous people in Montana

Heleena Bear, 14, was last seen Sunday. She has brown eyes and black hair. Jayden Eder, 11, was last seen on Aug. 17. The Bureau of Indian Affairs in Fort Peck is investigating their cases. Call 406-768-5565 with information.

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Jacelyn Burd, 12, was last seen on Monday. The Great Falls Police Department is investigating her case. She has brown eyes and brown hair. Call 406-455-8565 with information. 

Elise Flatmouth, 16, was last seen on Aug. 18. Bureau of Indian Affairs on the Crow Reservation is investigating her case. Call 406-638-2631 with information on her whereabouts.

Destiny Irvine-Piedalue, 17, was last seen on Sunday. The Flathead Tribal Police are investigating her case and can be reached at 406-657-4700.

Makayla Longtree, 13, was last heard from on Aug. 18. Roosevelt County Sheriff is investigating her case and can be reached at 406-653-6240.

Mark Milender, 14, was last seen on Tuesday. He has black hair and brown eyes. Yellowstone County Sheriff is investigating his case and can be reached at 406-256-2929.

Selena Neacha, 16, was last seen on Aug. 26 wearing all black clothes. She has brown eyes and black hair. Blackfeet Law Enforcement is investigating her case. Call 406-338-4000 with information.

Jacob Running Crane, 16, was last seen on Aug. 22. He has blond hair and blue eyes. Missoula Police Department is investigating his case and can be reached at 406-552-6300.

Ciara Wallette, 16, was last heard from on Aug. 22. She has brown hair and eyes. Billings Police Department is investigating her case. Call 406-657-8461 with information on her whereabouts.

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This article was first published in the Missoulian.