GLACIER COUNTY — On Highway 2 just outside Cut Bank is a constant reminder of a continuing crisis. “As time goes by, I’m starting to get frustrated,” said Loxie Loring, the mother of Ashley Loring Heavyrunner. “I feel like because another year is coming up and it’s going to be four years, and some days are harder than others.”
The month of June will mark four years since Ashley was last seen.
Since then, rewards have been offered, politicians have spoken, and walks have been organized. Ashley’s sister Kimberly testified before Congress, and Montana’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Person’s task force has been extended.
“I’m reaching out to them today for other resources because there’s other places I want to search,” said Loxie.
After her disappearance, Ashley’s family and friends painstakingly combed the mountains of the Blackfeet Reservation searching for her.
Loxie says Ashley loved horses and the rain. She described Ashley as smart, athletic, positive, and always willing to help.
“She was full of life; she had many dreams,” said Loxie. “She was the light of the party. One time she made me and my mother a Mother’s Day cake for Mother's Day. She would always be the one to cook the breakfast on the weekends.”
Loxie says she’ll never forget that last thing she said to Ashley. “I went into her room, and I told her 'I love you, Ashley,'” said Loxie. “And those words, I’ll cherish forever.”
Ashley’s disappearance has taken a toll on her family. Loxie has battled depression, addiction, and trouble with the law. Her long road back has been partially healed by placing purple balloons, Ashley’s favorite, on the billboard.
“Ashley was so small and feisty, but something this big just explains her whole personality,” said Loxie. “I know that my daughter isn’t here today and that her name isn’t going to go down in vain. I feel that with this MMIW, she’s still speaking out for the voices that can’t be heard.”
Loxie says another walk for Ashley, to bring attention to her disappearance and the MMIP movement, will be scheduled in June in Browning.