On September 16, 2019, a Silver Alert was issued for 87-year-old Clara Mae Braun. Braun went missing near Lemmon, South Dakota and was safe 65 miles away in Mott, North Dakota.
According to the Bismarck Tribune:
The South Dakota woman who was the subject of a Silver Alert has been found alive.
A farmer found Clara Mae Braun, 87, of Buffalo, S.D., south of Mott about 9:20 a.m. Thursday, said Harding County Sheriff Wyatt Sabo.
Braun was taken to West River Health Services in Hettinger and was doing well, Sabo said.
She hadn’t been seen since early Monday, when she was traveling north on South Dakota Highway 73, 15 miles south of Lemmon, S.D.
According to the Bismarck Tribune, the disappearance and death of Olivia Lone Bear prompted an examination of the circumstances of Silver Alerts as applied to tribal jurisdictions.
Lone Bear went missing from the the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in October 2017. Her body was found in a pickup truck submerged beneath Lake Sakakawea in August 2018. Because of the limited resources of law enforcement, much of the search for Lone Bear was organized by her family and relied on volunteers. Not everyone who offered to help was useful and it resulted in some conflicting reports. Lone Bear’s brother, Matthew, who was at the forefront of search efforts, said the family hopes to develop a comprehensive protocol for tribes to use in missing person cases.
Scott Davis, executive director of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission, said his office plans to discuss drafting missing persons guidelines for tribes and other ways to improve searches, such as expanding the state’s Silver Alert program. “The biggest thing for Indian Country is that … there is not a template out there to follow,” Davis said. “I think we recognize that and we’re trying to craft a template, if you will, for missing persons.”
Davis said his office was asked by Three Affiliated Tribes Police to assist in the search for Olivia Lone Bear. His office helped coordinate bi-weekly conference calls with the various federal, state and tribal entities involved. “It was a multi-agency effort, make no doubt,” Davis said.
The case proved there is a need for a better protocol to help tribes with missing persons searches. In a couple weeks, Davis said his office will “debrief” with tribal leadership to determine what can be improved.
“We had to debrief on this stuff: What did we do well, what didn’t we do well, what resources did we have, what resources do we need, is there a policy that prevented us from doing something?” he said.
He said he would also like to look at ways to expand the state’s Silver Alert Notification system. Currently, Silver Alerts only cover elderly and vulnerable adults and minors with developmental disabilities who have been reported missing to law enforcement. Davis said he hopes it could used for all missing persons, on and off-reservation.
If some type of alert had been issued in Olivia Lone Bear’s case, Davis said he believes the outcome may have been different.
Read more about this case in the Bismarck Tribune.
On the KFGO 790 AM show It Takes 2.0, radio hosts Amy Iler & JJ Gordon spoke with North Dakota Highway Patrol Lt. Mike Roark and Director of Homeland Security Cody Schultz about the North Dakota Silver Alert program.
In the past week, two silver alerts have been issued throughout the North Dakota. According to the ND Highway Patrol, they believe the Silver Alerts contributed to the location of both individuals.
Click here to listen to KFGO 790 AM.