Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Olivia Lone Bear’s pickup truck found

by C.S. Hagen | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | News | August 1st, 2018

Off Sanish Bay dock across from New Town Marina - photograph provided by Melaine Stoneman

NEW TOWN – Winter’s ice thawed months ago on the Fort Berthold Reservation, but no water search was conducted until last week when volunteers using sonar discovered a pickup truck in Lake Sakakawea that Olivia Lone Bear was seen driving.

Olivia Keri Lone Bear, 32, disappeared nearly nine months ago, and was last seen outside the Sportsman Bar on October 26 driving a teal 2011 Chevy Silverado, license plate 839 BRC, with a silver toolbox in the bed. The truck was pulled from Lake Sakakawea on Tuesday, according to authorities, and a female body was found inside. 

Jim Hofhenke, an oil field worker and a friend of Lone Bear, said during an interview last year that Lone Bear borrowed the truck from him before her disappearance.

Pickup truck clearly seen by sonar - photograph provided by Lissa Yellowbird-ChaseLissa Yellowbird-Chase, founder of Sahnish Scouts of North Dakota, said she discovered the truck using sonar in her investigative organization’s 14-foot outboard motor boat in Sanish Bay. She made the discovery last week in 31 feet of water, near a boat dock approximately a quarter mile from Lone Bear’s father’s house. She then alerted authorities who pulled the vehicle out of the lake late Tuesday.

She watched as the truck was pulled out of the lake Tuesday night.

“I wanted to hit that bay the minute Olivia went missing,” Yellowbird-Chase said. “She was in it, it’s unofficial though, they told the family that there was a female in there, but can’t be official until there is autopsy.”

Matthew Lone Bear, Olivia's brother, posted late Wednesday afternoon that the body inside the truck was Olivia. 

Melaine Stoneman, a Sicangu Lakota woman from the Rosebud Tribe, who ran logistics and coordinated meals and timelines for the Sahnish Scouts of North Dakota, also watched as authorities pulled the truck from Lake Sakakawea.

“When they pulled the truck out of the water, we already knew the divers knew a body was in there,” Stoneman said. “They cut off traffic, they put their lights on, Game, Fish & Park came whizzing by, and they already had family there, on their knees crying.”

With help from a mentor and friend, Yellowbird-Chase searched Lake Sakakawea last November, and knew where to start searching once her boat, which was having motor problems, was useable. For days, Yellowbird-Chase and volunteers withstood direct sunlight, summer heat, not knowing where their next meal or shower would come from, or where they might spend the night.

“We were on a budget and I was trying to do what I could,” Yellowbird-Chase said. “It’s called determination; a girl [Lone Bear] needed to go home. We really believed we were going to find her and it paid off.”

Facebook post from Matthew Lone Bear, brother of Olivia

At times local residents provided food and hot showers, and helped wash clothes.

After finding the vehicle, her mentor advised her to keep photographing from every angle possible. “We were out there for days, taking pictures, taking pictures, and sending them. She was right there all this time, and I told them that. As soon as we got over there, boom, we flipped the sonar on and we picked it up.”

Volunteer Jemima Heppner and dog, Melly, in boat - photograph provided by Melaine Stoneman

Searches last November were hampered by ice, and by the lack of a boat, she said.

Lone Bear, a mother of five who reportedly loved her children, wasn’t married, and was described as someone who liked to have a good time, but was also having employment issues. According to volunteer searchers, Lone Bear left her cell phone, her wallet, and a note on her bedroom dresser before disappearing.

Since mid July, representatives from the Mountrail County Sheriff’s Office, Tribal Police, and an agent from the Bureau of Indian Affairs were working on finding Lone Bear, according to Matthew Lone Bear. Matthew could not be reached for further comment.

Comparative picture of the missing pickup truck and the sonar picture of truck - photograph provided by Lissa Yellowbird-Chase

Yellowbird-Chase said that cooperation between investigative agencies was improving.

“It was a collaborative effort from all these people that took ten months,” Yellowbird-Chase said. “The thing I find magical is that you can clearly see in this case that a lot of people involved in this effort left their egos at the door.”

Melaine Stoneman gave credit to Yellowbird-Chase’s persistence when some in the area did not want her searching Sahnish Bay, she said. Yellowbird-Chase gave credit to the agencies and the volunteers involved.

“A lot of the credit goes toward Lissa, you know how it goes, we were barely making it,” Stoneman said.

“If I was to add to this is that it’s all about a spiritual movement and not giving up, always having the hope and faith and prayer. Olivia led us to her, she presented herself on a spiritual level, because she came to us in our dreams. I had a dream and it had to do with an embankment.”

Sonar pic of the truck Sahnish Scouts of North Dakota found - photograph provided by Lissa Yellowbird-Chase

While taking pictures from the bank with Yellowbird-Chase over the spot the pickup truck was found, her camera stopped working. Another boater with sonar trying to help had his equipment break down over the same spot. Yellowbird-Chase’s original boat motor, hardly used, also broke down during the search.

Authorities would not confirm if the body inside the truck belonged to Lone Bear, and at this time could not report if foul play was involved.

“I’m happy she’s on her way home,” Yellowbird-Chase said. “Those little kids, that’s what bothered me, her kids not knowing. I’m a mom, I couldn’t imagine my kids not knowing.”

With dozens more cases of missing and murdered Indigenous people, Yellowbird-Chase is heading out to the next search soon.

“We are going to continue on to search,” Stoneman said. 

[Editor's note: this story was updated after family confirmed the body inside the truck was Olivia Lone Bear.]

Recently in:

By C.S. Hagen and Melissa GonzalezFARGO – A public meeting to begin laying the groundwork toward establishing better hate crime legislation across the state soured Wednesday afternoon receiving criticism and spurring two people…

“I haven’t been to Fargo in a couple of years,” comedian Spencer Dobson said. “But it’s always had great stage time and funny, enthusiastic comics.”  Born in the small town of Voss, ND (pop 29), Dobson has been all…

Thursday, June 27, 5-11 p.m.Red Raven Espresso Parlor, 916 Main Ave, FargoThe Raven will be opening up the garage and serve up some vegan and vegetarian bbq goods. Live entertainment by SOTOS, Arachnid, Chocha, Cold Front, The…

Wallethub just released a listing of the most fun states in America. Minnesota ranked number seven, South Dakota ranked number 31, and North Dakota ranked number 40. All based on experts examining restaurants, movie theatres, golf…

From Kerosene Lamp To Drone DeliveriesThe world continues to be a very exciting place for an adolescent who spent his evenings after milking my share of four cows reading books from my country school like “Men of Iron” by…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

All About Food

It’s date night!

by HPR Contributor

By Seng Phengdouangdethsengphengdouangdeth@gmail.comAs things are finally starting to warm up in the region, it’s time to kick that delivery habit you’ve developed all winter long and take your main squeeze out somewhere with…

When asked to describe the sound of Green Blue, Minneapolis based musician Annie Sparrows formerly of the Soviettes and Awesome Snakes laughed and said, “Our friend came up to me after a show and he said ‘Do you like Belle and…

Martin Scorsese embraces the prankster spirit of a longtime inspiration/subject in “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story.” The confounding testimony is as much mockumentary as documentary, combining new interviews and…

You may have seen Nicki Marie slingin’ her elaborately folded paper star creations at various craft and cultural festivals around the region. She was also a recipient of a folk art and traditional apprenticeship grant made…

The Cass Act Players will take the stage this weekend to bring “Weather the Storm” to Bonanzaville’s Dawson Hall in West Fargo.“Weather the Storm” is a musical based on the infamous tornado that hit Fargo’s Golden Ridge…

Stand-up comedy is traditionally a one-way exchange. Outside of the odd question addressed to a random audience member, the limit of the spectators’ contribution to the conversation is their laughter at the comedy stylings being…

If you’re from the region you may have sipped, sampled or caught word of a libation often referred to as “red eye” or “wedding whiskey” at some point. In fact some of our friends of German Russia descent swear by it. If…

Wellness

Yoga on the Farm

by Ryan Janke

Every Thursday evening during the month of June, Mara Solberg is inviting people to come out and try Yoga on the Farm. It is a unique yoga experience that was born from an idea that was proposed to Solberg.“I’ve been with Red…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

Last Word

The ten year reunion

by HPR Contributor

By Zach Nerpelzachnerpel@gmail.comI was going by “Zach” on this particular evening. Not like I’d go by anything else in any other situation, but tonight it was determined I’d wear a nametag. I showed up to the Fargo Brewing…