Body found in Pierre leads to questions and sorrow

Published: Jun. 14, 2019 at 12:02 AM CDT
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Memories are keeping Katie Blue Thunder afloat after hearing her friend Corrine White Thunder was found by Pierre police in a submerged vehicle at downs marina.

“She was a good friend. She was my best friend,” Blue Thunder said while fighting back emotions.

"As a person in my eyes she had the strength to help everybody before herself. Anybody who was having any problems, and she was a happy person."

It's a familiar and heartfelt response that continues to be an issue for indigenous people on indian reservations.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed legislation into law during our most recent legislative session; Senate Bill 164 which establish procedures for the investigation of certain missing and murdered indigenous persons.

"It's very complicated with the different jurisdictions between the state, tribal, local, and even national [governments]. Senate bill 164 was to help develop how this information is processed, and building that data base that connects with all of those entities to ensure somebody doesn't fall through the cracks," Representative Tamara St. John said.

Investigators say based on the information they received so far, White Thunder was last seen in December of 2017 in Pierre.

She had not been reported to Pierre police as a missing person, and according to records, was not listed in the national crime information center as a missing person.

"Unfortunately there were comments that I was seeing about how sad it was that this young woman wasn't missed or that no one was looking for her, and right away I think a lot of us that have seen this issue we're aware that this happens far too often," St. John added.

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