'We can't just sit by': LaFontaine-Greywind family traveling west to help with Lone Bear search
FARGO — The family of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, the Fargo woman who disappeared in August while eight months pregnant and whose body was found eight days later, will be traveling to the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation this weekend to help search for Olivia Lone Bear, the 32-year-old mother of five who's been missing more than a month.
Savanna's parents, Norberta LaFontaine-Greywind and Joe Greywind, and two of her siblings, Casey and Kayla, will drive to New Town on Friday, Dec. 1. They will stay overnight and then meet with the Lone Bear family at 8 a.m. Saturday, as searchers begin another day of searching.
The LaFontaine-Greywind family plans to stay until Saturday night or Sunday before returning to Fargo.
"We just want to support the Lone Bear family," Norberta LaFontaine-Greywind said. "We've been there. We can't just sit by and let another family go through what we went through. We want to help in any way we can."
Lone Bear, a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes, was last seen on Oct. 24 leaving the Sportsman's Bar in New Town. She was driving a teal 2011 Chevrolet Silverado with North Dakota plates: 839-BRC. She was reported missing to Three Affiliated Tribes police on Oct. 27.
Norberta LaFontaine-Greywind said she has been following the progress of the search from afar and made contact with people involved in the search via Facebook to express the family's desire to help.
"I thought it was amazing," said Matthew Lone Bear, the missing woman's brother. "It shows a sense of solidarity. We don't want to force them to do anything, but we're not going to say no to them. We think it will be great. We look forward to meeting them."
For Norberta LaFontaine-Greywind and her family, this weekend may seem painfully familiar, reminiscent of eight days of intensive searches for Savanna.
"I'm a little worried," the mother said. "I was a little hesitant to be involved this early. I don't know how strong I will be out there. At the same time, there's a family that's missing their loved one. I can't sit by and not do anything. I'm putting that aside. I'll deal with it as it comes."
No new information about Lone Bear's whereabouts has been discovered in the five weeks that she has been missing. Tribal police have said there is no evidence of foul play and so her disappearance is not being investigated as a crime.
The Lone Bear family is deeply dissatisfied with the response of the Three Affiliated Tribes police, who they say were slow to take the case seriously and have done too little since she was reported missing to try to find her.
"They're dropping the ball," Matthew Lone Bear said. "We hardly ever see the police department out here. The family is leading the search. We're getting more help from the Standing Rock (tribe) than from our own police."
Matthew Lone Bear said he is especially concerned about the fact that most of the water on the reservation has not yet been searched. Nearly one-fifth of the reservation is covered by water, including Lake Sakakawea.
"The water is starting to freeze," he said. "It should have been searched a long time ago."
Lone Bear is 5-feet, 6-inches tall, 130 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. She has several tattoos, including Roman numerals on her right arm. She was last seen wearing a white camouflage jacket with black stripes on the arms, and light-colored blue jeans.
The Lone Bear family is asking members of the public to come to New Town to help with the search. The search begins each day at 8:30 a.m. at the MHA & Tero Energy Complex, 305 4th Ave., New Town. Searching continues until 5 p.m. The Three Affiliated Tribes government has provided money to pay for lodging, meals and gas cards for searchers.
People who can't help search are encouraged to donate food and supplies. People interested in helping can call Matthew Lone Bear at (701) 595-3114 or a tip line that has been established at (701) 627-6141. Updates and information about the search are available on a Facebook page established by the Lone Bear family at https://www.facebook.com/searchingforolivialonebear/.