Woman behind bars in death of girl on Montana reservation

AP News
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Posted: Apr 21, 2016 7:00 PM

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A woman was behind bars on a Montana Indian reservation Thursday in connection with the death of a 1-year-old girl who was reported to have been kidnapped from her home and found dead the next day.

Authorities would not release the 42-year-old woman's name or specify the charges she faces, citing the investigation into Kenzley Olson's death. Details on how Kenzley died and whether the woman had any relationship with the girl were not released.

Speculation over the case swirled through the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, where another young girl was abducted in February about 20 miles away by a man accused of trying to kill her.

Peter Dupree said he lives next door to Kenzley's home in the small town of Poplar and watched teams of local and federal investigators working through the neighborhood. He said they looked through trash bins in the alleys that run behind her house.

"It's so sad. It's almost crying time. This is a baby who was probably crawling and everything else," he said.

He added that crimes appeared to be on the rise as methamphetamine use on the reservation became more conspicuous over the past several years.

"I really think it's getting worse. It's not getting better," Dupree said. "The law and order has to step up to the plate."

Authorities initially said Kenzley was abducted from her house Tuesday morning, but FBI spokeswoman Sandra Yi Barker could not confirm if that was still believed to be the case.

An Amber Alert for the girl went out early Wednesday, and her body was found that afternoon.

Investigators also were looking to question additional people in Kenzley's death, Roosevelt County spokesman Lee Allmer said.

"What they're trying to accomplish with the investigation is to see if anybody else was involved. It is a general search," he said.

The woman was taken into custody Wednesday evening and scheduled to appear Friday for a probable cause hearing before a tribal judge, court officials said. Federal charges also were anticipated, Barker said.

The Fort Peck Reservation is home to the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes and has a population of about 10,000.

In the February abduction, authorities said a 4-year-old girl was taken from a public park in Wolf Point, about 20 miles west of Poplar.

She was found alive several days later. The 20-year-old defendant in that case has been charged with kidnapping, attempted murder and aggravated sexual assault of a minor. He has pleaded not guilty.

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