RIVERTON, Wyo. — A woman missing since early January was found dead late last week, authorities told multiple news outlets on Monday.
Jade Wagon, 23, was last seen on Jan. 2. Authorities had recently asked for help finding Wagon, according to a Riverton Police Department Facebook post last week.
Online news outlet County 10 first reported that Fremont County Coroner Mark Stratmoen confirmed that Wagon was found dead but said he otherwise provided no other details. Neither Stratmoen nor his chief deputy responded to requests for comment from the Casper Star-Tribune by press time Monday.
Fremont County Chief Deputy Coroner Erin Ivie also confirmed the death to K2 on Monday.
"She was loved by many," Clifford said in her post. "May the Creator comfort everyone during this difficult time."
Authorities have so far not provided any details, including when and where she was found, how she died or if foul play is suspected.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs' Wind River Police Department is leading the investigation, according to Riverton Police Department spokesman Capt. Todd Byerly. He said he could not confirm any other details.
Wind River Police Department Chief Tony Larvie did not respond to two requests for comment on Monday.
The movement to address the problem has gained momentum and increased awareness nationally and in Wyoming. In Wyoming, that’s meant forming a task force to examine the problem and come up with potential solutions.
Lawmakers are also set to take up legislation this session that would require better data collection, better cooperation between agencies when investigating these cases and improved training.
Family, friends and law enforcement held a news conference last September, where they asked for anyone with information about the homicides to come forward.
Wagon’s death also follows the death of Selena Not Afraid — a 16-year-old Native American teen from Montana — which has received widespread attention as another example of missing and murdered Indigenous people.
Selena was last seen at a rest stop in Big Horn County, Montana, on New Year’s Day. She was found dead 20 days later less than a mile from there. More than 1,000 attended her funeral over the weekend.
Understand it better: Our stories on the missing and murdered indigenous people crisis
The Billings Gazette has continued to examine one of the most urgent issues in Montana and our region — missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.
In Montana, Native Americans are just 6.7% of the total population, but make up 26% of missing persons cases.
The problem has persisted for generations, and many of the cases remain unsolved. The causes are numerous and complex, and any lasting solutions have been elusive.
The Gazette is exploring the reasons the crisis has persisted and what can be done about it.
And, we need your help. We welcome your tips, suggestions and feedback at billingsgazette.com/mmiwtips.
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