Too often, too many and too sad.

There was recently a nationwide night of candlelight vigils to remember missing or murdered Native American women. Aberdeen and Mobridge were among the locations.

Sometimes it feels as if most of society doesn't care, or care enough, about missing or murdered Native American women.

Patryc Jordan, a Northern State University student from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, said the importance of being at the vigil was to bring awareness to what's happening to indigenous women.

"There's been a lot that have gone missing and the cases have usually been swept under the rug. It isn't right," Jordan said. "It boils down to a racial thing. They'd rather bend over backwards to find a white lady rather than a native lady. I just don't think it's right. Everyone deserves to be treated equal."

No one deserves to think they would be treated different because they look, sound or are different. But it happens.

Here are some cases in the Aberdeen area:

  • Candace Rough Surface, 18, of Kenel disappeared Aug. 2, 1980. A rancher found her bullet-ridden body nine months later in a shallow bay of Lake Oahe. The case was solved in 1995 when James Stroh II told how he and his cousin, Nicholas Scherr, raped and killed Rough Surface. Both men pleaded guilty. Stroh got 15 years. Scherr is serving a 100-year prison term.
  • A hit-and-run driver struck and killed 21-year-old Katrina Wind on Jan. 1, 1986. She was walking along U.S. Highway 281 south of Aberdeen. The case has not been solved.
  • The body of Candace Hope Grey, 17, of Waubay, was found on U.S. Highway 12 near Ortley. She was run over the night of March 10, 1990, by a vehicle in heavy fog.
  • Monica Bercier-Wickre, 42, was found in the James River near Stratford on June 16, 1993. She disappeared April 7, 1993, and left behind three children. Investigators said they think they know who killed her, but no one ever was charged.
  • The body of 22-year-old Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind was found in the Red River near Fargo, N.D., Aug. 27. She was eight months pregnant when she disappeared Aug. 19. A newborn baby, now believed to be hers, was found in a Fargo apartment building. Brooke Lynn Crews, 38, and William Henry Hoehn, 32, have been charged with conspiring to kill LaFontaine-Greywind.

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For those who only see victims as victims and work hard toward resolving their cases, thank you for your efforts.

For those who don't, you are saying violence is OK against some folks, and not OK against others — probably others like them.

Our hearts, thoughts and hopes for peace go out to all victims of violence and their families. You deserved better and got the worst.

Too often, too many and too sad.

— Aberdeen American News

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