Body of missing Montana 16-year-old found

HARDIN, Mont. (KTVQ/CNN) - The weekslong search for a 16-year-old girl has come to an end. The body of Selena Not Afraid was found less than a mile from where she disappeared.

Selena Not Afraid was found dead near where she was last seen nearly three weeks ago. (Source: Big Horn County Sheriff's Office/KTVQ/CNN)

Authorities haven't released the cause of death, but they don't suspect foul play.

For nearly three weeks, dozens of volunteers, local and federal law enforcement, and search and rescue teams were looking for her, only to come up empty. But that changed Monday.

The 16-year-old’s body was found only three quarters of a mile away from the I-90 rest stop between Billings and Hardin - the same place where she was last seen alive on New Year’s Day.

Crews from the Department of the Interior found the teen’s body after a systematic grid search of the area

“It’s a sad day. Our prayers and condolences are with the family. We hope that it brings them closure. I know it’s been a long, grueling 18 or 19 days looking for her,” said Karl Little Owl, Crow Tribe chief operating officer.

“I’m sure there will be a lot of broken hearts,” said Sheriff Lawrence C. Big Hair of the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office.

The body of Not Afraid was found only three quarters of a mile away from the rest area where she originally disappeared.

Authorities in the area say that the place is big country, and things can go unnoticed.

“Myself, I went walking there into the night," Big Hair said. "And I was within 200 yards of her body probably about a week ago. You know, I just took a wrong turn and didn’t walk up to where she was at. But I was that close to her body that evening. It’s just a big country out here to search.”

No foul play is suspected in the teen’s death at this time. The sheriff said more about her cause of death will be known after the autopsy.

Not Afraid was a junior at Hardin High school. Indian Health Service counselors will be working with the student body Tuesday.

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