Ashley Loring: Found or Missing? Is Ashley Loring Dead or Alive? – On June 5, 2017, Ashley Loring Heavyrunner, 20, vanished from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana. Her disappearance is a part of the ongoing epidemic of missing Indigenous women. Her family reported her missing to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Blackfeet Law Enforcement.
A tip was received a few weeks after Ashley vanished. On June 5, 2017, the same evening that Ashley was last seen, a teenage girl was seen fleeing from a car on the reservation’s U.S. Highway 89.
Her family launched a desperate hunt for her after her abrupt disappearance, with or without assistance from the police. The third episode of Paramount+‘s “Never Seen Before” and the “Up and Vanished” podcast explore the circumstances behind the puzzling case.
Who is Ashley Loring and What Happened to Her?
20-year-old Ashley Loring Heavyrunner, who was born in November 1996, was well-known for her enormous heart, upbeat outlook, and eagerness to assist those in need. She was motivated to raise awareness of Indigenous women’s predicament after learning about the prevalence of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada.
Her older sister Kimberly, 27, relates, “She was telling me, Sis, these girls are going missing in Canada and something’s happening to them – I want to assist them.”
But Ashley, a resident of the Montana Blackfeet Indian Reservation, vanished herself a few months later. She visited her parents’ home on June 5, 2017, and was later spotted at a party. Her relatives became worried a few days later when they were unable to contact her.
She spoke briefly with her sister while she was visiting her fiance at the time in Morocco. Ashley was seen having fun with her pals in a party video, and that was the last anyone saw or heard of her. The 20-year-old did not answer any calls for a week, but Kimberly, who had moved back home, assumed it was usually because her sister had a tendency to mishandle phones.
According to Kimberly, “She was renowned for losing phones frequently and having broken phones.” We, therefore, believed that might have been the case.
The family became concerned, though, when their father was sent to the hospital in the middle of June, and Ashley was nowhere to be seen.
The college student who had grown up on a ranch and loved to dress “country chic” had intended to travel to Missoula to live with Kimberly and enrol in the University of Montana when she vanished.
My sister experienced a horrific event, Kimberly claims. “She was incredibly amiable and trusting of others. As a result, I think Ashley was victimised and injured because of who she is as a person.”
Kimberly spoke in 2018 before the Indian Affairs Committee about her view that her family was “ignored” by the numerous agencies on the case, from tribal police to the FBI. Her family has told her story from the Rocky Mountains to the halls of Congress.
Ashley Loring: Found or Missing?
Five years after going missing in June 2017, Ashley Loring is still unaccounted for as of this writing. A three-day search party was created after the tip, and volunteers located a sweater and a pair of boots they thought belonged to Ashley. However, her sister claims that the police misplaced them before they could be tested. Unfortunately, the search party was disbanded, and two months later, the Blackfeet Law Enforcement and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) launched an investigation.
Kimberly believed that law enforcement’s inaction had ruined the case. She asserted that by the time it was too late, the lead investigator had developed a friendship with the main suspect and was leaking information to them. Additionally, she thought other reserve members were aware of Ashley’s situation but chose not to discuss it. After a while, Kimberly lost hope of getting any useful help from the authorities and started looking for her missing sibling on her own.
In the hopes of discovering at least some sign of her sister, she searched through the mountainous forests, dug out fresh mounds of earth, and repelled grizzly bears. At that point, Kimberly had begun to worry that Ashley might already be dead and had begun looking for human bones as well. Family and friends helped her, but they could not discover anything connected to the missing girl. Kimberly’s tireless efforts paid off.
In December 2018, she received an invitation to testify before a US Senate Committee in Washington regarding the alarming number of Indigenous women who go missing and the lack of assistance provided to their families by the judicial system. This improved the response to Ashley’s disappearance, and the FBI started helping with the search for her.
Kimberly keeps looking for her sister and frequently updates social media hoping that someone will find her soon. Additionally, on June 12 of each year, Ashley’s community, friends, and family come together to participate in “Ashley’s Walk” in her memory. We hope the young woman returns home soon and her loved ones can get the necessary closure.
At the time of her disappearance, Ashley was 90 pounds and 5 feet, 2 inches tall. By dialing 1-833-560-2065, emailing OJS MMU@bia.gov, or texting BIAMMU to 847411, you can provide the BIA with information regarding her case. Call the Salt Lake City FBI at (801) 579-1400, (800) CALL-FBI, or send an anonymous tip through tips.fbi.gov. The contact information for Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services is (406) 338-4000.