How Did Allison Highwolf Die? Distrust Fuels a Mystery in Indian Country.

Efforts to pursue a wrongful-death lawsuit towards the motel fizzled, Ms. New Holy stated. Private investigators price greater than the household may afford.

By 2019, 4 years after Ms. Highwolf’s demise, one other sister, Kim Red Cherries, used Facebook to contact the Sovereign Bodies Institute, a nonprofit in California that helps Indigenous people who find themselves the victims of sexual violence. Last month, after almost two years of effort, Annita Lucchesi, the group’s director, who had publicly declared Ms. Highwolf’s demise a homicide, organized a gathering with the Montana state health worker and different authorities to start a evaluation of Ms. Highwolf’s case.

The almost four-hour assembly, held late final month and described to The New York Times by members, raised extra questions.

Jay Harris, the Big Horn County Attorney, reviewed copies of police studies within the assembly, together with one which stated the police discovered an entry in a journal within the motel room that could possibly be interpreted as a suicide notice. It was the primary time the household had heard of such a notice, and Pauline Highwolf stays skeptical of it. She has since seen {a photograph} of it and stated she was uncertain whether or not the handwriting was her daughter’s.

Pauline Highwolf additionally strongly objected to a press release within the autopsy report that her daughter had “a prior history of suicide attempts.” That was not the case, she stated. Mr. Harris stated the knowledge got here from a Big Horn County regulation enforcement officer on the evening of Allison Highwolf’s demise, however couldn’t clarify why the officer included it. The officer has since left the division, and didn’t reply to messages left on his cellphone.

The health worker, Dr. Robert Kurtzman, and a member of his employees who performed Ms. Highwolf’s post-mortem, reviewed the autopsy report. They informed Ms. Lucchesi, who represented the household within the assembly, that the marks that Ms. Highwolf’s household photographed on her face and neck didn’t seem in pictures taken earlier than her post-mortem.