A 24-year-old Cheyenne River man was found dead along the Missouri River on Friday, Feb. 19.
Justin Reede of Dupree had been missing since Feb. 13, when he was named as a suspect by the Potter County Sheriff’s Department in a stolen vehicle investigation. Reports say that he was last seen at Bob’s Resort in the western part of the county when a 2005 gold/tan Buick LeSabre was stolen from the parking lot around 4 p.m. that afternoon.
The temperature on Feb. 13 registered a high of -7, without windchill.
The Gettysburg Fire Department was called to the Sutton farm around 5 p.m. on Feb. 19 to assist in a search for an individual. The vehicle that was taken the previous Saturday was located by tribal police about a mile and half south of the Forest City Bridge. An air search done with the help of a pilot from the fire department located Reede’s body across on the west side of the river near Stove Creek. There is no foul play suspected, and exposure to the bitter winter cold is blamed as the cause of death.
A report in the West River Eagle stated that according to CRST Tribal Police Officer Joe Brings Plenty, it appeared Reede crossed the river and made it up part of the bank, then stopped to rest. Although he said the death was obviously from exposure, a coroner’s report has not been released.
The WRE reported deadly temperatures that weekend, with the ambient temp overnight dropping to -23 degrees, with a 30 m.p.h. wind making the chill around -57.
Reports confirmed that Reede was turned away from the tribal Covid-19 checkpoint near Swiftbird earlier on Feb. 13, although the reason for being turned away has not been confirmed. It is believed he was trying to get onto the reservation by foot after being turned away at the checkpoint.
The temperature on the day his body was found reached a high of 29 degrees, with very little wind; more than 50 degrees warmer than the previous week.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Rooks Funeral Home of Eagle Butte.
-Information provided by Fran Carr/WRE