A look at the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women featured in Dateline NBC’s Missing in America and Cold Case Spotlight
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women featured in Dateline NBC's Missing in America and Cold Case Spotlight
Ashley Loring Heavyrunner, also known as Ashley Loring, was only 20 years old when she disappeared from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana on June 5, 2017.
She was enrolled in Blackfeet Community College studying environmental science.
Her family began their own search efforts and two weeks after Ashley was last seen, the family received a tip. Someone had seen a young woman running from a vehicle on U.S. Highway 89 on the reservation the night Ashley disappeared.
Her sister, Kimberly Loring, said they gathered to search the area, which she described as being desolate. During the search, at the northern edge of the reservation, Kimberly and a family friend discovered a tattered sweater and a pair of red-stained boots. The family is certain that the items belong to Ashley, adding that the sweater was identified by an eyewitness who told the family it was the same as the sweater Ashley was wearing the night she disappeared.
Kimberly told Dateline that the sweater and boots were handed over to law enforcement for DNA testing, but added they have still not received any results.
In 2018, Kimberly appeared before the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C. to speak about her experience and what she believes was the mismanagement of evidence she says she witnessed from law enforcement in her sister’s case.
In 2020, the documentary “Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible” spotlighted the Blackfeet Nation Boxing Club which opened its doors to girls, teaching them how to protect themselves and fight for their lives.
The documentary refers to a common saying in Native American communities, “When an Indigenous woman goes missing, she goes missing twice — first her body vanishes and then her story.”
A spokesperson for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Robyn Broyles, told Dateline in June 2021
that "the BIA, the Office of Justice Services, Missing and Murdered Unit did receive some recent tips related to the case that officers followed up with, but those did not result in any new information."
Ashley is described as being 5’2” and weighing about 90 lbs. at the time of her disappearance. She has brown hair and brown eyes. She would be 24 years old today.
A walk is held in Browning, Montana every year in honor of Ashley and other missing and murdered Indigenous people.
Anyone with information on Ashley’s case is asked to call the Salt Lake City FBI – which covers Utah, Montana and Idaho - at 801-579-1400 or 800-CALLFBI or tips.fbi.gov.