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Sheriff’s office: Not Afraid died of hypothermia

Thursday, January 23, 2020
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1:30 p.m. - Preliminary autopsy reports indicate Selena Not Afraid died of hypothermia, said Big Horn County Undersheriff Eric Winburn.

Winburn confirmed to the Big Horn County News there are no signs that Not Afraid’s body was moved.

National Park Service trackers found the body Monday morning at 10:33 a.m., Winburn said.

“The parks service brought in professional trackers, they are the ones who found the body,” Winburn said. “They were almost in that area the day before and on Monday they found the body.”

Winburn said the sheriff’s office map that shows areas searched by volunteers does not show that volunteers searched the area where Not Afraid's body was found.

“An official cause of death determination remains pending review of a full toxicology report,” Big Horn County Attorney Jay Harris wrote in a press release Thursday afternoon.

Toxicology reports can take two or more weeks to complete.

Winburn said the Department of Interior brought in Fish & Game and parks service crews. Bureau of Indian Affairs officers from Crow and Northern Cheyenne, multiple FBI crews and the U.S. Attorney all helped with the search, as well as people from Mussellshell, Carbon and Yellowstone County law enforcement agencies.

“We are finishing our reports,” Winburn said. “It’s up to the county attorney’s office to press charges.”

He added once the reports are complete all evidence related to the case will be sent to the county attorney's office.

Although the initial autopsy may not indicate a crime, Winburn said, charges could be filed due to the circumstances that lead to the teen’s death, but ultimately that is at the discretion of the county attorney's office.

Harris reasserted in the release that a full examination of evidence and all aspects of legalities of the investigation are under prosecutorial review by his office.

The autopsy was performed on Wednesday, Jan. 22 by the Montana State Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Robert Kurtzman, at the Montana Crime Lab in Billings, Harris wrote.


Editor's note: This article was updated at 3:25 p.m. to include comments from the Big Horn County Attorney Jay Harris.

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