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Tribal Affairs

BLM Joins Search For Missing Montana Girl

Posters with handwritten names and the message "Hope for Sal" blow in the wind at the rest stop where Selena Not Afraid was last seen.
Olivia Reingold
/
Yellowstone Public Radio
Posters with the message "Hope for Sal" on a fence at the Interstate-90 eastbound rest stop between Hardin and Billings on January 15, 2020.

Multiple agencies are continuing to search for a missing girl from south-central Montana through frigid weather.

A multi-agency search team looked for Selina Shelley Faye Not Afraid around the Interstate-90 eastbound rest stop between Hardin and Billings Wednesday. Big Horn County Undersheriff Mike Fuss and about 25 other law enforcement officers searched for leads starting at 8 A.M. when the high was one degree Fahrenheit.

"As you get out there and start walking, you warm up pretty quick," Fuss said. "And I think the adrenaline of hoping you’re going to find her and she’s going to pop up and say hi to you or something, you know."

Sixteen-year-old Not Afraid was last seen at the Fly Creek rest area on I-90 on New Year’s afternoon.

A search began that evening. That was 15 days ago.

Now multiple agencies on the federal, state and local levels are involved, including the Big Horn County Sheriff’s office and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Bureau of Land Management joined the search this week.

A Montana sheriff recently called Not Afraid’s disappearance suspicious-looking in nature.

Big Horn County Undersheriff Fuss says volunteers from the community started their search New Year’s Day and went home either Monday or Tuesday as temperatures lowered towards zero and below.

Fuss says he worked a 28-hour day after Not Afraid was reported missing and hasn’t had a day off since New Year’s.

He says his office is investigating five or four other cases, including the disappearance of Hub Williamson, a Native American man who went missing last April.

"Selena, she’s been our priority. I mean we need to find her," Fuss said.

Fuss says he’s hopeful his agency and others will find Not Afraid. They found no leads as of Wednesday afternoon.

On Wednesday U.S. Senator Jon Tester sent a letter urging the Federal Bureau of Investigation and BIA to step up their investigation and asked for an update for Not Afraid’s family and local communities.

Olivia Reingold is Yellowstone Public Radio’s Report for America corps member.