GREAT FALLS — (UPDATE, SATURDAY, 5:30 p.m.) The search effort for Arden Pepion has now shifted to a recovery mission. Click here for the latest information.
(UPDATE, FRIDAY, 4:35 p.m.) The Montana Department has issued a formal Missing-Endangered Person Advisory for Arden, at the request of the Blackfeet Tribal Police Department.
(UPDATE, FRIDAY, 12:17 p.m.) Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services says that it and several other law enforcement agencies are coordinating the search for Arden. They also said that they are thankful for the public’s assistance in the search, but at this time do not need additional search crews. A separate phone number will be posted later for the public to call into for more information. Joe Show East road is temporarily closed for through traffic.
(1st REPORT, FRIDAY, 10:59 a.m.) Early Friday, Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services posted an "attempt to locate" message for three-year old Arden Pepion. The alert says that she was last seen on Thursday at about 7 p.m. in the vicinity of Joe Show East Road off of US Highway 89. Arden was last seen wearing a purple jacket with a a unicorn design on the front, a grey under-sweater, black leggings, and black boots with green trim.
Law enforcement officers, tribal leaders, and volunteers are searching the area, some on horseback.
James McNeely, public information officer for the Blackfeet Tribe, said in a news release: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family for a safe return of Arden as well as prayers for the safety of all our search and rescue teams who have been working very diligently during this time.
Anyone who has seen Arden or who has information about her location is asked to call Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services at 406-338-4000, or call 911. We will update you if we get more information.
NOTE: several people have asked why an AMBER Alert has not been issued. The reason is that there is no indication that Arden was abducted, which is the primary factor used to determine if an AMBER Alert is issued. In addition, authorities know the general area where Arden is, which is why they are searching in and around that location. Click here to learn more about AMBER Alerts.