BILLINGS — A search team on Monday found the body of a 16-year-old girl near a Montana highway rest area where she was last reported seen on January 1, the Big Horn County sheriff said.
The body of Selena Not Afraid was found by federal agents around 10:30 a.m., according to Big Horn County Sheriff Lawrence Big Hair.
The body was less than a mile from the Interstate-90 rest area between Billings and Hardin where searchers began looking for the girl on the evening she disappeared.
The case marks the latest in a long string of murders and disappearances of American Indian women in recent years that have garnered national attention. Not Afraid’s family is from the Crow Reservation southeast of Billings.
She was a junior at Hardin High School and her father is the former chief judge for the Crow tribal court.
Big Hair had earlier said the disappearance appeared suspicious, and an FBI team was brought in to help with the search.
The sheriff said Monday that no foul play was immediately suspected. An autopsy was planned.
Not Afraid was among six people driving from Billings to Hardin on New Year’s Day when the car they were in broke down, sheriff’s officials said.
Four people left the rest stop when the vehicle later re-started, and the driver allegedly called a relative to pick up Not Afraid and another girl left behind.
Only one girl was at the rest stop when the relative arrived. Not Afraid, who witnesses said walked off into a nearby field, had insufficiently dressed for temperatures around freezing, according to authorities.