BILLINGS — A Montana girl whose body was found 20 days after she went missing from an Interstate 90 rest stop on New Year’s Day died of hypothermia, Big Horn County officials said Thursday.
Federal officers found the body of Selena Not Afraid, 16, of Hardin about a mile (1.6 kilometers) southwest of the rest stop on Monday. An autopsy was conducted Wednesday.
There was no indication of violence, Undersheriff Eric Winburn told The Billings Gazette. Toxicology tests are pending and could take several weeks, he said.
Selena had been in Billings for a New Year’s Eve party and was riding home to Hardin in a van with five adults the next afternoon. Those involved told Sheriff Lawrence Big Hair that the van broke down at the rest area. Selena and a woman got out while the driver worked to start the van, the sheriff’s report said.
When the van restarted the driver was reportedly worried it would break down again and drove off without Selena and the woman. A relative of the driver arrived to pick them up 10 to 15 minutes later and only the woman was at the rest stop. She reported Selena had walked into a nearby field.
County Attorney Jay Harris issued a statement Tuesday saying he would pursue charges if any criminal activity contributed to Selena’s disappearance and death.
Her funeral is set for Sunday at Hardin High School.
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.