The search for two men last seen on the night of Dec. 27 on the Pine Ridge Reservation has likely become a recovery effort.
Robert "RJ" Kills Enemy, Jr., 23, and Vincent Steve Little Dog, 25, are presumed dead, but "we still hold out hope," Steve Steve Wilson, director of the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Emergency Management, said Monday.
Wilson said the men have not made contact with any friends of family since they went missing, and law enforcement suspects they may have died from exposure.
They were last seen around 11 p.m. Dec. 27 north of Manderson, Wilson previously told the Journal. They had run from a police officer who tried to speak with them after someone called 911 to report that a pair of intoxicated men were walking around, according to Police Chief Robert Ecoffey. Drinking alcohol is illegal on the reservation.
Multiple searches have been conducted with help from volunteers, OST agencies, the Oglala Lakota County Sheriff's Office, the Martin Volunteer Fire Department, and Pennington County Search and Rescue, which brought its new SHERP all-terrain vehicle, according to a Facebook post by the OST Department of Emergency Management.
Searches have looked for the men by foot, horseback and ATVs, Wilson said. They've also used drones and tracking and cadaver dogs. The search began in the area where the men were last seen and is making its way south toward Manderson.
"It's a lot of area to cover" and the snow left over from the blizzard is "not helping us in any way," Wilson said. "It's hard on our search crews, hard on our equipment."
Kills Enemy weighs 110 pounds, is 5 feet, 6 inches tall, and was last seen wearing Nike shoes, a black jacket with brown sleeves and a blue camouflage jacket. Little Dog weighs 125 pounds, is 5 feet, 5 inches tall, and was last seen wearing pants and a sweater in unknown colors.
Anyone who sees the men or knows where they might be should call police at 911 or 605-867-5141. People interested in volunteering should call the OST police or emergency management at 605-867-5011. Volunteers should dress for cold weather and bring ATVs/UTVs or horses if they have them.
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