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Blackfeet residents want action on MMIP crisis

Arden Pepion search
A search is underway on the Blackfeet Reservation for 26-year old Leo Wagner
MMIP Ashley Loring Heavyrunner
Posted at 7:21 PM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 15:14:44-04

GREAT FALLS — Heartbreak on the Blackfeet Reservation continues; community members say tragedy struck twice in a week after the disappearance of two residents last month.

Three-year-old Arden Pepion and 26-year-old Leo Wagner have been missing since late April; the two vanished within just five days of each other.

Officials scaled back operations this month, but family members continue their search for answers. Community leaders say sadly, Arden and Leo aren't the only people missing from the reservation.

Now a small group is banding together in a call for action regarding the MMIP crisis (Missing & Murdered Indigenous Persons). They want to hear from tribal officials and local law enforcement about what progress has been made to address a problem they say isn't going away.

Belinda Bullshoe said, "Who's going to help us stop another person from missing? It’s on everybody's minds here on the Blackfeet Reservation. What if one of us goes missing, what's going to happen - are we going to be found?”

Rhonda Grant-Connelly, the aunt of Matthew Grant, says that high crime rates, police brutality, and substance abuse add to the MMIP crisis. Grant was found murdered in 2016 on New Years' Eve, two weeks after his disappearance.