Ice thawed 3 months ago on Fort Berthold Reservation, still no water searches for missing mom
NEW TOWN, N.D. — The family of Olivia Lone Bear, a mother of five who went missing a little over eight months ago, continues to look for her as their dissatisfaction with investigators grows.
Lone Bear's brother, Matthew, said a water search was supposed to be done about three months ago when the ice thawed on the Fort Berthold Reservation, which straddles Lake Sakakawea in western North Dakota. But that search has not happened.
"There is supposed to be a water search going on, and we have law enforcement pointing fingers at who is supposed to do the water search," he said.
Matthew Lone Bear said search efforts started out good, but with a lot of employment changes in the last 30 days at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the agency leading the investigation, it seems like his sister's case has taken a back seat.
"It's kind of a hit or miss. We now have a revolving door of agents that come in and some don't know about the case," he said. "They can't learn seven months worth of a case in two weeks and have that be effective."
BIA spokeswoman Nedra Darling could not be reached for comment by phone or email.
Matthew Lone Bear said he's pushing for the FBI to help with the investigation.
FBI spokesman Michael Kulstad did not say whether the bureau plans to become involved in the case. He provided only the following statement: "The support we offer varies across the country and even on different reservations. As a general matter, we attempt to assist local and tribal law enforcement."
A search camp has been set up to sleep 60 people if necessary. For about a week now, Matthew Lone Bear said he and another relative have been the only two searchers at the camp.
The Fort Berthold Reservation, which Olivia Lone Bear called home, is nearly 1 million acres. About 30 percent of those acres have been searched, her brother said. He said he plans to keep searching "until we're done."
Olivia Lone Bear, 33, is Native American, 5-foot-6 and 130 pounds, with brown eyes, brown hair and tattoos. She was last seen driving a teal 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 pickup truck with North Dakota license plate 839 BRC. The truck has not been found.
In May, the BIA updated the date and location of where Olivia Lone Bear was last seen to Oct. 25 in downtown New Town.
Reward money is being offered, including $21,000 for information leading to Olivia Lone Bear's safe return home or the arrest or conviction of an assailant. There's also a $5,000 reward for information leading to an assailant.
Anyone with information related to her disappearance can call 701-627-6141. Tipsters wanting to remain anonymous can call 701-595-3114.