ND woman to seeks clues at Henrikson trial for unfound body

Lissa Yellowbird-Chase may be the only person from North Dakota taking unpaid time off from work to sit through the trial of a man accused of hiring the murder of two men during the Bakken oil boom.

Lissa Yellowbird-Chase may be the only person from North Dakota taking unpaid time off from work to sit through the trial of a man accused of hiring the murder of two men during the Bakken oil boom.

Others - including former Three Affiliated Tribes chairman Tex Hall, his companion Tiffany Johnson and New Town oil businessman Steve Kelly - are subpoenaed witnesses in the trail, but Yellowbird-Chase says that, by observing quietly in the courtroom, she may learn where one of the slain men is buried.

The trial of James Henrikson, 36, started Monday with jury selection in a Richland, Wash., federal courtroom. He’s accused in the killings of Kristopher “KC” Clarke, a truck driver, who the prosecution says was bludgeoned to death near Mandaree four years ago and still lies in an unfound grave, and Doug Carlile, an investment partner, who was shot to death in his suburban Spokane, Wash., home in December 2013.

The actual killer, Timothy Suckow, and accomplices, have pleaded guilty and will be witnesses against Henrikson, who withdrew his guilty plea and forced the ongoing trial.

Yellowbird-Chase devoted hundreds of hours scouring the Badlands for Clarke’s body through Sahnish Scouts Seeking Justice, an organization she formed to find missing or lost individuals. For months, she lived and breathed the case even before federal authorities opened their investigation. She’s on leave from work until Feb. 10 to attend the trial, and justice supporters are helping pay her travel and lodging through a GoFundMe account.


Affidavits say that Henrikson paid Suckow to beat Clarke to death with a tire iron because Clarke was planning to start a competing trucking business. The killing was done at a truck shop owned by former tribal chairman Hall, who was leasing the shop to Henrikson, affidavits say.

Yellowbird-Chase says she believes she knows exactly where Clarke’s body was initially buried off of a U.S. Forest Service road north of Grassy Butte, but that Henrikson returned alone later to move it so that his accomplices couldn’t use it against him, facts supported by affidavits filed in the case.

Though it’s unlikely Henrikson will divulge the second burial location, Yellowbird-Chase said she knows where it likely is and that something more may slip during someone’s testimony.

“I want to see if there’s any elaboration where KC could be located,” said Yellowbird-Chase, adding that believes Henrikson dumped Clarke’s body into a septic tank excavation he dug with a rented back hoe outside Hall’s building. She said she’ll ask Hall if he’ll consent to an excavation, if it comes to that, when she sees him in court.

“What harm would there be to dig it up?” she said.

The trial is expected to last several weeks, with nearly 100 witnesses and the introduction of detailed cell phone logs between Henrikson and his accomplices and other evidence.

Yellowbird-Chase said she knows Henrikson as an extremely intelligent, but twisted man, and that his ego is on trial in a case he has no chance of winning.

“He likes attention. This is his last hurrah. For him, it’s either go big or go to jail,” she said.


Yellowbird-Chase said she’ll provide updates during the trial.

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