A Montana couple faces manslaughter charges in the 2019 death of a Crow Indian Reservation girl

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – A Montana couple faces murder and evidence tampering charges in 2019 disappearance and death of a 6-year-old girl on the Crow Indian Reservation, according to court documents.

Big Horn County Prosecutor Jeanne Torske said in court documents that Mildred Alexis Old Crow was physically assaulted and drowned in a bathtub before her body was wrapped in plastic and hidden inside a container.

The container was taped shut and remained hidden for more than two years while the defendants collected benefits intended for the victim, Torske wrote.

Roseanne Lincoln and Veronica Dusty, both 36, could face up to life in prison if convicted in state district court. They remained in custody on $1 million bail Tuesday and were scheduled to be arraigned March 28 before state Magistrate Matthew Wald in Hardin.

Native women are being victimized at an alarming rate, and federal figures show they have experienced the highest homicide rates—along with black Hispanic women.

Associated Press 2018 investigation found that no one knows the exact number of missing and murdered Native Americans nationwide because many go unreported, others are not well documented, and no government database specifically tracks them.

The suspects in Mildred’s death could not be reached for comment and had no defense attorneys, court officials said. Lincoln was previously identified in court documents as Rosen Lincoln Old Crow.

The defendants were initially arrested in December 2020 as suspects in the girl’s disappearance. They were convicted months later of indecent endangerment and custodial interference and sentenced in Crow tribal court to 18 months in prison and fined $2,000 each. Tribal court does not prosecute major crimes.

Mildred — a direct descendant of Chief Pretty Eagle, one of the last chiefs of the Crow War — was removed from her birth mother and placed in the care of Lincoln and Dust in 2017, Thorske said.

Family members described the victim as their “Little Angel” and said she loved to dance, especially at powwows.

In November 2020, Mildred’s relatives told federal investigators that they had not seen the girl since April 2019. Her body was discovered in February 2021 in a trailer near the tiny community of Garryoven, about 40 miles north of the Montana-Wyoming border.

Thorske said the autopsy revealed the girl’s head, indicating that she had been abused before her death. The violence against the girl usually occurred when the defendants were drinking alcohol, the prosecutor wrote. Torske said none of the past incidents of abuse were reported to authorities.

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