Lest We Forget: 53 Active Missing Women Cases in Montana (9/20)
The Gabby Petito story has taken over the media in the last week or so, and I'll admit it's almost impossible not to be interested. Her case contains elements that the 24-hour media cycle (and it's audience) loves.
- An attractive, young woman.
- What appears to be a somewhat unstable relationship.
- A cross-country road trip.
- A boyfriend that didn't mention a peep for a week, then lawyers up and disappears.
Dateline couldn't ask for a better plot.
I'm not making light of her case. It will surely turn out to be a murder charge. It's horrible, and sad and scary and I can only image the pain her parents are feeling. Watching it unfold, I thought maybe there was a good chance her body would be found in Yellowstone Park, Wyoming or even somewhere in Montana.
Sadly, Montana has far too may missing women.
It's easy to get caught up in the big, headline-making, missing person cases. But let's not forget all the ones that aren't on the news. The Montana Department of Justice currently lists 53 missing women cases in Montana. Many are Native or Indigenous. State Senator Jason Small shared this Tweet today.
Just as many men as women are missing in Montana.
In the Montana Department of Justices' Missing Person Data Analysis, they found that it's nearly 50/50 when it comes to the gender of Montanans who are missing (data from 2017-2019). They also noted,
Indigenous persons are more than four times as likely to go missing as non-indigenous persons; and underreporting of these issues from tribal areas has been an issue for years (although it is showing signs of improvement).
Big Horn County has the highest reports of missing persons in Montana.
Most are kids and most are found.
The DOJ report found that 81% of all missing persons in Montana were under age 18. They also noted that most missing person cases are solved,
Out of the 3,277 individuals entered in the system in the three-year period of this review, 97.7% of the individuals were located/recovered.
Other cases, like that of Robyn Ann Pettinato (from the Whitefish area), remain unsolved. Robyn's last known contact was in 1975. She was just 15 when she disappeared. If she is still alive, she is now 60.