Those are the words of concerned family of Valene Little Bird. No one has heard from or seen Little Bird since August 2021. She was reported missing January 21st.
Little Bird’s sister Jaimee Stretches says it’s unusual for her sister to not come home. Only one year apart in age, Jaimee says her sister is one of her best friends.
“She always checks in with me,” says Stretches. “She’s never gone or never somewhere without me knowing her whereabouts all the time. It’s not her to be absent from me.”
Family and community members gathered at Sacred Pipeline Resource Center in Mandan to lay out a search plan.
Swan American Horse, Sacred Pipe Resource Center says, “Speaking through experience, I know it takes community effort to make this happen, that all it takes. Regular people, that care.”
The family also recently learned that the body of Little Bird’s boyfriend was found in April. Authorities discovered 45-year-old Carlo Touchine’s body in the Missouri River, which raised concern for Little Bird’s family.
Swan American Horse at Sacred Pipe Resource Center says, “There are missing people all over the country and just noticing that it’s becoming a issue with our Native women, you can look at the statistics.”
Lissa Yellow Bird-Chase has helped over one-hundred families of missing people in the area with her organization created specifically to conduct searches and seek justice for the missing and murdered.
She says this is not just a problem in North Dakota.
“Different reservations are stepping up for their people, organizations are stepping up for their people, and just different people that wear different hats whether it be emergency management, law enforcement, at the end of the day when they take that badge and title off their still a citizen,” says Yellow Bird-Chase.
Police say Little Bird has been reported to be homeless and travels a lot.
“I feel like she needs help you, know what I mean,” Stretches shares. “She’s usually fine, has a lot of friends, she kind of goes here and there. Asking all of them, they don’t know, nobody knows anything.”
Little Bird also goes by the name Valene Addison. She is forty-years-old, 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs one-hundred and fifty pounds. She has black hair and brown eyes.
“I feel like she’s not gone, I feel like she’s alive,” Stretches cries. “I just have a strong sense. I feel afraid but I just want to be able to see her and at least give her a hug.”
“The more people that are involved, the better the success rate we can have in locating people and recovering them,” says Yellow Bird-Chase.
To help, there will be another organized search taking place at 9 o’clock Sunday morning. Volunteers will meet at Sacred Pipe Resource Center, 400 W Main St. in Mandan.
If you have any information about Valene Little Bird, contact the Bismarck Police Department at 701-223-1212.