Search for Downwind Saturday: North Dakota woman helping coordinate search for missing Redby woman

BEMIDJI -- A volunteer search for Rose Downwind will take place Saturday and coordinating the venture is a woman with experience looking for those who have disappeared.

A poster offering a reward for leads to the whereabouts and safe return of Rose Downwind is stapled to a tree on Third Street Northwest in downtown Bemidji. A volunteer search for Rose Downwind will take place Saturday. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- A volunteer search for Rose Downwind will take place Saturday and coordinating the venture is a woman with experience looking for those who have disappeared.

Lissa Yellowbird-Chase is the founder of Sahnish Scouts North Dakota, a Fargo-based organization that assists families of those who have gone missing. She will be north of Bemidji Saturday, leading the search, which is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. outside Newby's Market.

Saturday’s public search comes more than three weeks after Downwind, 31, of Redby, Minn., was last seen Oct. 21 leaving a residence on Stoner Avenue in southeast Bemidji. According to Bemidji Police, she was last seen wearing a blue sweater and black pants and is described as an American Indian woman, 5 feet 4 inches and 115 pounds with long, straight dark hair. The police and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension believe foul play is a factor and have focused the investigation to an area north of Bemidji including Lake Bemidji State Park and Buena Vista State Forest.

Before Saturday's search for Downwind starts, Yellowbird-Chase said organizers will make information sheets available online for people to fill out. Yellowbird-Chase said the documents will be used to help track who is searching and donating. Additionally, the sheets will request people to list medical information, such as heart issues, to ensure safety during the search.

"Once everyone is accounted for and everything is set up, we're going to introduce the family of Rose," Yellowbird-Chase said. "After that, we will begin to separate people into groups. Each group will have a lead and an assistant lead; they will have radios to report and to keep track of everyone.


"We have maps ready with areas of interest so we'll be able to make assignments and send out people to different spots. We will also have people with whistles to notify hunters that we're in the area," she said. "We're going to identify different things for people to look for. This can include clothing, personal items and other indicators to help people searching."

The search will take place for a few hours until about noon, according to Yellowbird-Chase, who said groups will then reconvene at Newby’s. She said it will be a chance for everyone to rest before going on to the next area, as well as an opportunity for volunteers to sign out if they can no longer search for the day.

Sahnish Scouts

Yellowbird-Chase became interested in helping to search for those who disappeared when she started looking into the case of Kristopher "K.C." Clarke, a man who went missing in 2012 in the Bakken oil formation in western North Dakota.

"The case went unnoticed and no one was really paying attention to it," Yellowbird-Chase said. "Me and my two sons traveled to the area and interviewed persons of interest. We decided to use our voices and call out that there's a problem."

The Clarke case ultimately ended up as a murder-for-hire plot, with a man admitting to police that he had killed Clarke and buried his body, which has never been recovered.

Yellowbird-Chase said since that case missing persons have become one of her passions and the organization gives "a voice for those who don't have one at this time."


When people questioned Yellowbird-Chase about who she was associated with during her searches, it was one of her sons who said "we're with the people."

"My sons then said we should have the name “The People Scouts," Yellowbird-Chase said. "Since we're Arikara, we decided to use the Arikara word for people, ‘Sahnish,’ and became the Sahnish Scouts.

"Since then we've been working a lot of cases, many of them have been in the oil fields since so much was going on," she said. "Then this one came up and we thought 'This is in our back yard, why wouldn't we help?' We felt compelled to join in and see if we can be of any support."

Those who intend on joining Saturday’s search are asked to have blaze orange clothing, layers, waterproof boots and to bring hand held radios if possible. Searchers are also recommended to bring raincoats in case of changing weather.

"This is a very public event," Yellowbird-Chase said. "We invite anybody. If you have a skill or have search experience, we want you to come out."

A Facebook page, Help Find Rose Downwind, has been set up and offers updates from the family. A page at the fundraising website GoFundMe is also available at . To contact the police with information, call (218) 333-9111.

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Lissa Yellowbird-Chase

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