Missing Fort Belknap woman found after multi-state search

 

August 2, 2019

Davelena Kelley

Davalena Buckman Kelley, a Fort Belknap woman who was reported missing Monday on Facebook, by her sister Starr Sapphire, was found by Chicago Police Department with assistance from Fort Belknap Indian Community Law Enforcement, and arrangements have been made to return her back home to Montana.

"I just wanna give a huge thanks to everyone that shared the post, and helped get the word out," Sapphire wrote on a Facebook post Thursday.

According to a Monday Facebook post by Sapphire, the 18-year-old Kelley had left home with a laundry basket at approximately 7 a.m. When her sister didn't come back inside, Sapphire went to check on her and found the laundry basket lying on the ground by the back gate which was facing the road.

She said Kelley is mentally delayed and functions at the level of an 8- or 9-year-old. Kelley has run away in the past and has been involved in other incidents because of her disabilities and mental illness.

"(I know) for a fact she hasn't thought nor can comprehend the seriousness or dangers she has put herself in," Sapphire added in the Facebook post.

Kelley seemed to have left willingly with a man, unaware of the situation she had gotten herself into, Sapphire said. Her sister had also made a statement the night before her disappearance that a man from Chicago was going to pick her up. Sapphire said the statement did not immediately alarm her because her sister was known to "fantasize and live in a make-believe world."


Kelley was later spotted at the Little Montana Truckstop and Campground in Grass Range, Fort Belknap Tribal Public Relations Officer Alissa Snow said. Snow said she received security camera footage of Kelley, with a man, time stamped Monday at 8:41 a.m at the truck stop.

Sapphire said members of her family and friends tried to reach out to Kelley after she had gone missing, but were unable to make contact with her. The only contact they had was a Snapchat story which shared her journey to Beach, North Dakota. Sapphire alerted Golden Valley County Sheriff's Office of the situation. Later the sheriff called her back and confirmed Kelley was reported to be seen at the Flying J Travel Center at 3 p.m., Sapphire added.

A deputy with the Golden Valley County Sheriff's Office said they responded to Flying J after Fort Belknap Law Enforcement received a Snapchat notification pinning Kelley's location to the gas station. The deputy added they were unable to locate her or verify whether or not she had visited the site and that the gas station's camera had been down at that time.


Fort Belknap Law Enforcement later put Kelley's information into a nationwide missing persons database.

Kelley was located in Chicago some time Thursday, though details on how she was found are not available.

In light of locating her sister, Sapphire said Indian reservations are still behind in establishing laws to protect disadvantaged people, and social media - which her sister is heavily involved in - is the biggest attraction for predators looking for vulnerable young men and women.

"Just thankful it wasn't as dangerous as it could have been," Sapphire said. "There are just some things we cannot prevent no matter how hard we try. So I look forward to seeing our community come together (to) make some changes that are well (overdue.) She added that former Fort Belknap Social Services Domestic Violence Coordinator Cheryl Horn played a large role in recovering Kelley.

"Without her, (we) wouldn't have been able to get as much done and (gone as) far as we did in such short notice," Sapphire said. "Hands down she has all my honorary respect."

 

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