One year ago on August 14, Kaysera celebrated her 18th birthday. She played basketball and football, ran cross country, and performed in several school theatre productions. She had dreams of becoming an actress and a performer. She had a lot to look forward to.
Ten days later, on August 24, 2019, she went missing in a suburban neighborhood of Hardin, Montana, less than a half mile off of the Crow Reservation. Her body was found in the same neighborhood where she was last seen alive, on the morning of August 29. Law enforcement, however, did not inform the family that Kaysera’s body had been found until almost two weeks later, on September 11.
Since September 11, the family has worked diligently to collect and share evidence regarding Kaysera’s murder and the suspicious circumstances surrounding her tragic death. The family has shared significant evidence and tips with the FBI, the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office, and the Montana Department of Justice. So far, all three of these agencies have done absolutely nothing.
“We have been ignored,” states Grace Bulltail, Kaysera’s auntie. “We have written letters, requested meetings, made phone calls, provided witness statements—we have done all that we can possibly imagine to convince law enforcement to investigate the murder of my niece. On this day that should have been her 19th birthday, my family is asking for the support of our friends and allies across Indian Country, and all of the United States, to stand with us and demand justice for Kaysera.”
The family, together with Sovereign Bodies Institute, the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, and attorneys at Pipestem Law, P.C., are inviting fellow survivors, tribal leaders, advocates, non-Indian allies—and anyone who agrees that the lives of Native women and girls are to be valued—to join them in a series of events starting on August 24, the day Kaysera went missing, and ending on September 11, the day that the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office finally notified the family they had found Kaysera’s body.
Every day, from August 24 to September 11, will feature an event, webinar, or letter writing campaign designed to honor Kaysera’s memory and demand justice for her and her family from law enforcement agencies that, so far, have been complacent in their failure to investigate her murder.
“Sovereign Bodies Institute stands in solidarity with Kaysera’s family in their demand for justice,” states Annita Lucchesi, Executive Director of the Sovereign Bodies Institute. “Big Horn County and the State of Montana have a long track record of ignoring the murders of Native women and people, and they won’t charge their policies and protocols unless the public demands that we do so. Now is not the time to remain silent.”
“Shame on local and federal law enforcement for doing nothing,” states the family’s attorney Mary Kathryn Nagle, Pipestem Law. “It has been a year. Evidence has been ignored. Suspects have been allowed to walk free, unquestioned. Search warrants have not been executed. This is inexcusable. It is time to let the Montana Department of Justice, FBI, and the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office know that we hold them accountable. From August 24 to September 11, we will be asking individuals to join us in writing to public officials and law enforcement. Please join us in demanding justice for Kaysera and her family.”
“The absence of accountability at state and federal law enforcement agencies has forced our families to search for and investigate the crimes when our Native women and girls are murdered or go missing,” states Elizabeth Carr, Senior Policy Analyst at the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. “Native families should not have to do law enforcement’s job. The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center stands with Kaysera’s family in their demand for justice.”
More information about the events from August 24 to September 11 is available, and will be continuously updated, on the #JusticeForKaysera Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Justice-For-Kaysera-102859078203661
The full schedule of events will also be posted on the following website, along with letters that individuals can send on specific days in solidarity with Kaysera’s family (letters will be posted by August 24):