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Why Are Native Women Vanishing

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Roxanne White, whose aunt was murdered in 1996, sings and drums a women's warrior and honor song created for missing and murdered indigenous women, before joining a search in Valier, Mont., for Ashley HeavyRunner Loring, who disappeared last year from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. For many in Native American communities across the nation, the problem of missing and murdered women is deeply personal. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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Searchers pause against the scenery while looking for clues in the disappearance of Ashley HeavyRunner Loring, who has been missing for over a year from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Babb, Mont., Thursday July 12, 2018. Ashley's disappearance is one small chapter in what one senator calls an epidemic, the unsettling story of missing and murdered Native American women and girls. No one knows precisely how many there are in the U.S., partly because some go unreported and others haven't been accurately documented. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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Randy Ortiz, left, shows a bone he found to George A. Hall as they look for clues outside a trailer in Valier, Mont., during a search for Ashley HeavyRunner Loring, who went missing last year from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. The group found several bones and alerted police, who responded in five squad cars. After studying the bones, an officer broke the news _ they're from animals. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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Kimberly Loring, from left, Staci Salois, Randy Ortiz, Lissa Loring and George A. Hall, look for clues under a trailer during a search in Valier, Mont., for the Loring's sister and cousin, Ashley HeavyRunner Loring, who went missing in 2017 from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Lissa says Ashley's disappearance constantly weighs on her. "All that plays in my head is where do we look? Who's going to tell us the next lead?" (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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George A. Hall draws his pistol as grizzly bears are heard nearby during a search in Valier, Mont., for Ashley HeavyRunner Loring who went missing last year from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. The searchers have trekked through fields, gingerly stepping around snakes and keeping watch for bears lurking in the brush. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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Randy Ortiz combs a field outside a trailer during a search for Ashley HeavyRunner Loring, who went missing from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation more than a year ago, in Valier, Mont., Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Ashley's cousins lived at the trailer, and there are reports it's among the last places she was seen. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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Kimberly Loring, from right, Roxanne White, Lissa Loring and George A. Hall, cross a creek looking for clues during a search for the Loring's sister and cousin, Ashley HeavyRunner Loring, who went missing in 2017 from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Valier, Mont., Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Kimberly has logged about 40 searches for her sister, with family from afar sometimes using Google Earth to guide her around closed roads. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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George A. Hall, right, holds up a jacket found with Lissa Loring, during a search in Valier. Mont., for Loring's cousin, Ashley HeavyRunner Loring, who went missing last year from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. "We're following every rumor there is, even if it sounds ridiculous," Loring says. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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Kimberly Loring, left, touches her forehead to her little sister, Jonnilyn, 17, as she says goodbye before heading out on a search for their missing sister Ashley with their cousin, Lissa Loring, left, outside their home on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Mont., Wednesday, July 11, 2018. "I'm the older sister. I need to do this," says 24-year-old Kimberly. "I don't want to search until I'm 80. But if I have to, I will." (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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Lissa Loring points Blackfeet law enforcement officers to a trailer in Valier, Mont., where she believes clues have been found during a search for her cousin, Ashley HeavyRunner Loring, who went missing last year from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. This search is motivated, in part, by the family's disappointment with the reservation police force_ a common sentiment for many relatives of missing Native Americans. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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A female contestant waits to rope a calf during a practice run for a rodeo competition on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Mont., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. A 2017 analysis by Montana's Department of Justice found Native Americans account for 30 percent of missing girls and women _ 22 of 72 _ even though they represent only 3.3 percent of the state's population. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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A poster of Ashley HeavyRunner Loring hangs on the wall as her sister, Kimberly, walks through her room at their grandmother's home on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Mont., Friday, July 13, 2018. Kimberly was 8 when she made a promise to Ashley, then 5, while the girls were briefly in a foster home. "'We have to stick together,'" she'd said to her little sister. "I told her I would never leave her. And if she was going to go anywhere, I would find her." (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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A train rounds a bend while traveling across the landscape of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Mont., Tuesday, July 10, 2018. Tribal police and investigators from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs serve as law enforcement on reservations, which are sovereign nations. But the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice investigate certain offenses and, if there's ample evidence, prosecute major felonies such as murder, kidnapping and rape if they happen on tribal lands. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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A missing poster for Ashley HeavyRunner Loring is posted to the entrance of a grocery store on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Mont., Thursday, July 12, 2018. At first, her relatives say, tribal police suggested Ashley was old enough to take off on her own. The Bureau of Indian Affairs and tribal police headed up the initial investigation. The FBI later took over. BIA spokeswoman Nedra Darling says 55 people have been interviewed and 38 searches conducted. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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Tyisha ArrowTop Knot, right, sprays her nieces and nephews with a garden hose while looking after them in the backyard of their home on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Mont., Thursday, July 12, 2018. "We've always been a cautious family," she said of watching out for the children in light of recent disappearances of Native American women. "The world is just getting worse." (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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A couple walks through the main business district on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Mont., Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Browning is the heart of the Blackfeet Nation, a distinctly Western town with calf-roping competitions and the occasional horseback rider ambling down the street _ and a hardscrabble reality. Nearly 40 percent of the residents live in poverty. The down-and-out loiter on corners. Shuttered homes with "Meth Unit" scrawled on wooden boards convey the damage caused by drugs. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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Beatrice Kipp, 13, right, spars with Timmy Sellars, 14, at the Blackfeet Native Boxing Club on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Mont., Saturday, July 14, 2018. "I'm protective of our children because of human trafficking. What happened to Ashley is really worrying," said Frank Kipp who teaches his daughters how to box and runs the club. "We teach our girls if someone grabs you, you fight to your death." (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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George A. Hall carries his shotgun as protection against bears while searching for Ashley HeavyRunner Loring in the mountains of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Babb, Mont., Thursday July 12, 2018. No one knows how many Native American women and girls go missing, but there's often a similar pattern once they do: A community outcry, a search and the offer of a reward. There may be a quick resolution. But often, there's frustration with tribal police and federal authorities, and a feeling many cases aren't handled urgently or thoroughly. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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Randy Ortiz wears a shirt with the names of missing and murdered indigenous women as he searches for Ashley HeavyRunner Loring in the mountains of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Babb, Mont., Thursday July 12, 2018. On some reservations, Native American women are murdered at a rate more than 10 times the national average, and a third of all Native American women will be raped at some point, according to the Justice Department. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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Randy Ortiz, right, pushes Ronnie Loring, 3, the cousin of Ashley HeavyRunner Loring, as they take a break from searching for her on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Mont., Thursday July 12, 2018. The family has logged about 40 searches but there's no way to cover a 1.5 million acre reservation, an expanse larger than Delaware. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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Friends and family members of Ashley HeavyRunner Loring hold a traditional blanket dance before the crowd at the North American Indian Days celebration to raise awareness and funds for her search on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Mont., Saturday, July 14, 2018. In January, the FBI took over the case after a tip led investigators off the reservation and into another state. A $10,000 reward is being offered in the case. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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Jenna Loring, left, the aunt of Ashley HeavyRunner Loring, cries with her cousin, Lissa Loring, during a traditional blanket dance before the crowd at the North American Indian Days celebration on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Mont., Saturday, July 14, 2018. The 'dance' was held to raise awareness and funds for Ashley's search. With just about 1,000 residents on the reservation, many folks are related and secrets have a way of spilling out. "There's always somebody talking," says Lissa, "and it seems like to us since she disappeared, everybody got quiet. I don't know if they're scared, but so are we. That's why we need people to speak up." (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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Kenny Still Smoking stands over the tombstone of his 7-year-old daughter, Monica, who was disappeared from school in 1979 and found frozen on a mountain, as he visits her grave on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Mont., Saturday, July 14, 2018. "I talk to her, let her know I'm doing ok, that I'm still kicking," he said. "I think about her all the time." (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman

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Kenny Still Smoking wipes his eye while talking about his 7-year-old daughter, Monica, who disappeared from school in 1979 and found frozen on a mountain, as he sits in his home on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Mont., Thursday, July 12, 2018. No arrests were ever made. His daughter's death was so consuming he asked his creator "to help me forgive, to help me forget, to help me not be so hateful, help me be a better person." He pauses, "So far, he's done a good job." (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By: David Goldman