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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of North Dakota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 20, 2019

MEDIA ADVISORY - U.S. Attorney and FBI Leadership Brief Family of Olivia Lone Bear on Death Investigation

Reward Offered For Information

BISMARCK – United States Attorney Drew H. Wrigley and FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Robert Perry traveled to New Town, ND, today and met  with family members of Ms. Olivia Lone Bear for the purpose of briefing them on the status of the death investigation.  The federal law enforcement delegation then provided a similar briefing to Mr. Roger White Owl, Chief Executive Officer for Chairman Mark Fox of the Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, and Three Affiliated Tribes Police Chief, Nelson Heart and senior leadership.

On October 27, 2017, Ms. Olivia Lone Bear, age 32, was reported missing to the Three Affiliated Tribes Police Department, two days since the last time she had been seen by her father, Harley “Tex” Lone Bear, who made the missing person report.  Over the ensuing days, the Three Affiliated Tribes Police Department, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and other state and local law enforcement agencies investigated Ms. Lone Bear’s disappearance.  In early November 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was invited into a supporting role for the existing investigation. 

During the week of July 23 through July 27, 2018, a civilian searcher using a small boat equipped with sonar located what the searcher suspected was a truck submerged in Lake Sakakawea near Sanish Bay, in New Town, ND, on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.  The searcher took photographs of the sonar produced images and provided the images to the Three Affiliated Tribes law enforcement.  On July 31, 2018, a law enforcement diver investigated the site and discovered a truck submerged in approximately 21 feet of water, 400 feet from the shore, and located approximately 1-1/2 miles from Ms. Lone Bear’s residence.

The truck was towed out of the lake, and law enforcement discovered the presence of a human body in the passenger seat, with the seat belt still securing the body in place.  Forensic examination of the body later confirmed it to be that of Ms. Olivia Lone Bear.  Medical personnel conducted an autopsy of Ms. Lone Bear and the cause of death was ruled undetermined.  Additionally, medical personnel noted that they did not find definitive traumatic, natural, or toxicological causes for her death.  Once law enforcement located Ms. Lone Bear’s body, the applicable laws and protocols enabled the FBI to take the lead on the investigation into both the cause of Ms. Lone Bear’s disappearance and her death.

The FBI and the United States Attorney’s Office remain fully committed to this investigation.  To date, the FBI, in conjunction with the United States Attorney’s Office, has issued multiple investigative subpoenas and search warrants.  FBI Special Agents have interviewed dozens of witnesses, conducted multiple forensic examinations, and enlisted the support of several specialized law enforcement teams for their insight and expertise regarding this matter.

“Olivia's family and members of her community want to know what happened to her and so do we," said Minneapolis FBI Special Agent in Charge Jill Sanborn. "We share the desire to bring closure to this case and peace to Olivia's family and fully understand the frustration a lengthy investigation can cause. Our primary goal is to uncover the facts surrounding her death in order to get a clear picture of what actually occurred," added Sanborn.

“We remain resolute in our commitment to work closely with federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement as we pursue all emerging evidence in this investigation,” said United States Attorney Drew Wrigley, “and we will continue to pursue all leads and pathways on the road to the truth.  That’s our pledge to Olivia, and to those who knew and loved her.”

The search warrants for this investigation have been unsealed, Case Numbers: 1:18-mj-00245; 1:18-mj-00292; and 1:19-mj-0040.

Following today’s meeting, it was announced that the FBI is seeking more information in this case and is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for actionable information that leads to the identification of those responsible for Ms. Lone Bear’s disappearance.  Anyone with information is urged to call 1-800-CALLFBI (1-800-225-5324) or file tips at https://tips.fbi.gov.

 

Component(s): 
Contact: 
Terry W. Van Horn (701) 297-7458 terry.vanhorn@usdoj.gov
Updated November 20, 2019