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Unsolved death leads to rally for homicide victims

 

August 13, 2013



LAME DEER (AP) — The unsolved death of a 21-year-old Lame Deer woman on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in southeastern Montana last month prompted a rally in which as many as 200 people marched through Lame Deer and demanded justice for victims of unsolved murders on American Indian reservations nationwide.

Hanna Harris went missing early on July 4 and her body was found four days later along Muddy Creek, a few miles from where her car had been found.

FBI spokeswoman Patricia Speelman said the agency is awaiting toxicology results to determine the cause of death.

"As those results become available, we can give a more definitive answer," Speelman said.

But Malinda Harris Limberhand is convinced her daughter was killed. Limberhand said it was out of character for her daughter to leave her 11-month-old son for such a long period of time.

The Billings Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/14tKw6g) a lack of information about Harris' case resulted in Monday's "Justice for Hanna" rally.

"We can't let this go on," said Rennie Pena, a relative of Harris. "It started with just a small core, but, you know what, it's grown and it's grown and it's grown. I can't sleep because I have no peace because there's a murderer out there somewhere."

About 60 people gathered at the Bureau of Indian Affairs building, where they formed a circle, held hands and prayed.

Then the group marched up the street, picking up more than 100 more people along the way. Some carried signs pleading for justice.

Several people spoke, including family members of others who have died, demanding more action from tribal officials and law enforcement in investigating the deaths of tribal members. Most said the current justice system is broken, citing delayed investigations and few convictions.

Acting Northern Cheyenne Chairman Winfield Russell and Ashland district representative Donna Fisher pledged their support to reform the tribal justice system.

"We support very strongly what (Limberhand) is bringing up here," Russell said.

Limberhand urged the community to hold officials accountable and demand justice.

"We need to stand together as a community and say enough is enough," she said.

 

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