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FBI silent on missing woman's connection to Spirit Lake death

MANDAN, N.D.--On Sept. 2, police in Mandan, N.D., put out a missing person's report for a woman last seen Aug. 23 in Fort Totten on the Spirit Lake reservation.

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MANDAN, N.D.-On Sept. 2, police in Mandan, N.D., put out a missing person's report for a woman last seen Aug. 23 in Fort Totten on the Spirit Lake reservation.

Since then, information about the disappearance of Carla Jovon Yellowbird, 27, spread on social media, with Facebook showing 56,640 mentions of her. But the case is now closed, according to Mandan police.

On Sept. 21, authorities began to investigate a suspicious death on the Spirit Lake reservation. The Federal Bureau of Investigations and Bureau of Indian Affairs are leading the investigations, but neither has released or confirmed any details of the case. As of Tuesday, FBI officials in Minneapolis said they could not yet classify the suspicious death as a homicide, nor could they reveal the identity or gender of the victim.

An obituary was published for Yellowbird on Sept. 24 in the Bismarck Tribune. It lists her date of death as Sept. 21 and said she lived in Mandan.

Members of the Spirit Lake Nation have mourned Yellowbird's death on social media. Lost and Missing in Indian Country, an organization dedicated to searching for missing Native American people across North America, posted a message calling for prayers and respect for her family Sept. 23.

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Lissa Yellowbird-Chase, founder of the Sahnish Scouts of North Dakota-an organization that searches for missing persons statewide, mourned her passing on Facebook last week.

FBI officials declined to comment when asked if Yellowbird was the person whose death they are investigating, saying it is ongoing.

Little is known about the investigation so far, but two deputies from the Grand Forks Sheriff's Office assisted federal authorities Sept. 21 with its Unmanned Aircraft Systems unit, according to Lt. B.J. Maxson.

"They flew the unit over the scene, took some photos and handed them off to the lead agency," Maxson said.

Related Topics: CRIME
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