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State investigators to assist in Selena Not Afraid investigation

Posted at 11:00 AM, Jan 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-30 16:15:27-05

The Montana Division of Criminal Investigation is helping in the investigation of the death of Hardin teen Selena Not Afraid, state officials confirmed Wednesday.

Big Horn County Sheriff Pete Big Hair asked for the assistance on Tuesday.

Not Afraid's body was found on Jan. 20, nearly three weeks after she went missing on New Year's Day.

Bryan Lockerby, administrator of DCI, said his office will communicate with agencies and review "all investigative materials and evidence.

"One of our primary roles in a tragic incident like this is to help provide an external professional perspective for the lead law enforcement agency," Lockerby stated in a DOJ email. "The results of our review often assist local agencies with their ongoing investigations and provide direction for a future course of action.”

Big Hair had initially stated that foul play was likely not involved in her death, and a state medical examiner ruled she died of exposure. However, Big Horn County Attorney Jay Harris has said that his office is still investigating possible criminal involvement related to Not Afraid's death.

Crow Tribal ChairA.J. Not Afraid contacted Attorney General Tim Fox last week about getting involved in the investigation. "A unified approach amongst our communities is long overdue," the chairman wrote. "Ant it may be the only way to keep our children safe."

In a letter to Not Afraid, Fox said the state's Department of Justice has been in regular contact with local authorities. "Our crime laboratory is continuing its forensic analysis that will, hopefully, yield more information about the circumstances of her death."

Fox also stated that only city, state and federal law enforcement agencies can request DOJ assistance.