New leads are developed each day in the investigation into the disappearance of a young couple and their infant son, federal officials said Wednesday.
Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement and the FBI are jointly investigating the disappearance of Teddy and Juliet Little Light and their 3-month-old son, Wyatt.
Teddy Little Light was last seen Dec. 23 when he stopped by his mother's house on the Crow Indian Reservation to leave Christmas gifts for the couple's older son, who is staying with her. He said the family was going to Wyola. They haven't been seen or heard from since.
More resources are being directed toward the investigation each day, said Matthew Pryor, special agent in charge of BIA law enforcement. Every tip that comes in is tracked down and leads to more information that also must be vetted.
"Officers and agents are out there, notebooks in hand, knocking on doors," Pryor said.
Other federal and local law enforcement agencies have assisted in verifying information. The cooperation has helped advance the investigation, said Eric Barnhart, the FBI supervisory senior resident agent in Billings.
The men said one frustration has been a lack of candid reporting. Some people have filtered the information they provided to law enforcement, either to protect themselves or the Little Lights or because they don't think investigators need or care about some details. The result is investigators lose time chasing down information that could have been directly provided, they said.
"As time wears on, our investigative priority is trying to obtain that unvarnished picture of what was going on with the Little Light family the last time they were seen," Barnhart said. "Obtaining that allows us to better allocate our resources.
"Our number one priority is finding them safely," he said. "Anything that got them to this point is secondary."
The Little Lights have not been seen or heard from for three weeks. There are alerts on national databases used by law enforcement, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has published a missing child post for Wyatt.
Relatives were concerned that the family hadn't been in contact during the holidays. Authorities were called in after the Little Lights failed to attend the Jan. 3 funeral of Juliet Toineeta Little Light's grandmother.
The family was reported missing on Jan. 5. That evening, an anonymous caller reported that Little Light's 1995 Chevy pickup was parked on an unimproved road on the Crow Indian Reservation. The pickup was found near Fort Smith on Grapevine Road, off of Highway 91 between Fort Smith and St. Xavier.
Last week, Pryor and other investigators flew over the area where the pickup was located but didn't see any sign of the family.
Relatives have said the Little Lights are outgoing people who might be seen in a social environment.
Anyone who thinks he or she has information is encouraged to call law enforcement.
"Even if you think your information is not worth calling, let us decide that," Pryor said. "Let us have the opportunity to at least have the information and make a decision."
Everyone involved in the investigation hopes the Little Lights are safe.
"The happy ending is this family shows up," Barnhart said.