Tribe Mourns Deaths of 3 girls/UNSOLVED

The three Arapaho girls found dead in June 2008 has just come to this blog due to no national media coverage.
In digging for more information by using each child’s name the following was found:

Tribe mourns deaths of three teenage girls; cause remains unknown

Submitted by JBarela on Fri, 06/06/2008 – 11:35

Tribe mourns deaths of three teenage girls; cause remains unknownBy CHRIS MERRILL Star-Tribune staff writer Friday, June 6, 2008 7:39 AM MDT RIVERTON — Winter Rose Thomas had just graduated from the eighth grade — and she was a good kid, a close relative said Thursday. She was learning the Arapaho language and was respectful to her grandmother, who had raised her since she was a baby. She was outgoing, attractive, took pride in her health and appearance, and sang beautifully at a recent sweat lodge ceremony. Winter Rose Thomas was one of three teenage girls found dead on the Wind River Indian Reservation Wednesday, in a rental home in the Beaver Creek housing development just south of here. The other two were Alexis Gardner and Alex Whiteplume, a tribal spokesman said. The girls were ages 13, 14 and 15, authorities said, and all three were members of the Northern Arapaho Tribe. "It’s a very shocking and rude awakening," said Darrell Lonebear, whose sister, Debbie Jenkins, raised Winter Rose. "It has created a stir in this community, and there are a lot of questions. These were all good kids. We’re angry about what happened, but who can we be angry at?" The FBI, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Fremont County coroner’s office were still investigating the incident Thursday, and the cause of death for the girls was still unknown, officials said. Results of the preliminary autopsies, which were performed Thursday morning at McKee Medical Center in Loveland, Colo., should be available today or Saturday. Friends, relatives and community members had heard several rumors about a possible teenage get-together that ended in tragedy, Lonebear said. But as of Thursday none of the relatives of the victims knew for sure what really happened. "There are a lot of young people out here, but there aren’t any recreational facilities, or organizations or activities for them," Lonebear said. "We can finger-point and place blame, but that doesn’t solve anything. What we need to recognize, here, is we need to pay attention to our children." Many of the houses in the Beaver Creak community are monitored by adults including Winter Rose’s guardian, Jenkins, who have strict rules about behavior and what goes on inside their homes, Lonebear said. But other places, right nearby, are lacking the presence of responsible adults. Normal teenage peer pressure, and the drive to "fit in," can cause good kids to congregate in the unsupervised locations, he said, and they sometimes make bad decisions. The Beaver Creek housing development sits atop a sandy, nearly treeless, windswept hill — with the new Wind River Casino just across the road. It is a tight cluster of single-story, pastel-colored homes amid a vast, rolling, high-desert meadow. Several of the rental homes have their windows boarded up, and the ground underfoot is sandy with tufts of cheatgrass and weeds, strewn with cardboard cups, wrappers and broken glass. The speed limit and stop signs around the development are painted over by graffiti, and many of the T-shaped laundry poles lean downhill, like trees in a stiff wind. On the same day the Northern Arapaho Tribe celebrated the Wind River Casino’s grand opening — and cars streamed in and out of its parking lot by the hundreds — dozens of other cars, filled with friends and families of the bereaved, turned into the potholed entryway of the housing development, just to the south. At the casino’s grand opening, representatives of the Northern Arapaho Business Council asked everyone present to pray for the victims’ families, and they offered a prayer in the Arapaho language, said Jonathan Barela, spokesman for the tribe. "The Northern Arapaho Tribe is in mourning for the passing of these three young women," Barela said. "As we move forward, for the betterment of this tribe, their spirits will remain, and everything positive that this tribe does is made for those who have passed on, and is made for those who remain." Anthony Al Addison Sr., chairman of the Northern Arapaho Business Council, said the council extends its prayers and condolences for the families involved. "It is tragic what has happened," Addison said. "These young girls hadn’t yet to see what life is all about. Our hearts go out to the families, their parents and grandparents, because this is something that is very hard to deal with." Reporter Chris Merrill can be reached at or at (307) 267-6722. THIS ARTICLE WAS USED IN COPPERATION WITH THE CASPER STAR TRIBUNE WITH PERMISSION FROM CHRIS MERRILL. THIS ARTICLE, AND OTHERS ARE AVAILABLE AT:

More on these three girls found:
Winter Rose J. Thomas Jenkins

6/7/2008 12:01:34 PM
My heart goes out to you.
I will keep you in my prayers.
I know that no words can take your pain away,
but please know you have my deepest sympathy.
Merlene Hudson

Merlene Hudson (school cook)

6/7/2008 2:49:49 PM
Oh Debbie and Sonny, I can not begin to tell how I feel about all of this. I am there for you and Sonny in all that you need!

How do we think about a life so young, I am so sorry and hope that you can lean on each other in this time to take comfort.

I pray you find some kind of peace and understand what good could possibly come from this.

Love you both, Helen

Helen Gordon-Vigil

6/8/2008 1:06:06 AM

Danny Svilar

6/8/2008 1:06:26 AM

Danny Svilar

6/8/2008 11:20:33 AM
Dear Debbie,

I saw you and Winter Rose talking together many times in the halls of Arapahoe School. And, while I did not have the opportunity to teach her, I did enjoy several conversations with Winter Rose. She was always sweet and very funny.

I am sorry for her death and saddened by your loss. God bless you.

Ken Frederick

Ken Frederick

6/8/2008 12:52:50 PM
To the family of Winter Rose,
I was so sorry to hear of your loss. It is tragic when young people die who haven’t had a chance to have a life. May God comfort you all in this time of sorrow.
Shiela Stark

Shiela Stark

6/8/2008 7:54:56 PM
Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family

Riverton Middle School Staff

6/8/2008 10:23:50 PM
Winter im a really MISS YOU!
I kown that u cant read diz but, I just wont u 2 no that i will alwayz hav u n my prayerz no matter what!!
Like I said im a really MISS YOU WINTER!!

Jarisa Robertson (friend)

6/8/2008 10:25:27 PM
Winter ima really MISS YOU!
I kown that u cant read diz but, I just wont u 2 no that i will alwayz hav u n my prayerz no matter what!!
Like I said ima really MISS YOU WINTER!!

Jarisa Robertson (friend)

6/9/2008 8:20:25 AM
I am so sorry for your loss. I had Winter in 8th grade at Arapaho School, she was a light. It is not fair that a girl with so much potential should have to leave this world so early. I wish there was something I could say or do to ease your pain. Our entire community is praying for you and your family.

Melissa Romero

6/9/2008 10:41:08 AM
Debbie and Sonny
Our thoughts and prayers are with you from the Goede family. Know your daughter was so loved by the school community. I am so sad for your loss. My heart aches for you. May God comfort you in this time of great grief and nurture our community.
Debbie you are very wise and anything I can do in the future to help please don’t hesitate to ask.

With all my love and the Lord’s comfort be with you,
Kelly Goede

Kelly Goede

WHY IS SHE BEING FORGOTTEN BY THE FBI AND MAIN MEDIA!?  (Tim Giago’s article is changing that as we are alerted to these cases by his recent article which is now all over the net and his article is being posted and reprinted in other states)
Interestingly, Winter Rose Thomas (Jenkins) was at a dedication for healing at The Sand Creek Massacre Memorial site in April 2007; she was 13 years old!
Commenting on the Sand Creek Massacre, Winter Rose said:

Northern Arapaho tribe members Raquel Shoulderblade, 14, Winter Rose Thomas, 13, and Trinity Shakespeare, 13, had come from their Wyoming home to attend Saturday’s dedication. They stood by National Park Service displays describing the massacre’s events.

"No person deserves to die like that," Winter Rose said.

(And no person deserves to die like Winter Rose and her two young girlfriends either… OR to be forgotten…)
(Sand Creek Massacre: 

About 400 people on Saturday helped dedicate the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, where at least 160 members of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes – two-thirds of them women and children – were slaughtered 143 years ago in a surprise raid by Colorado militiamen.  

More at link on Sand Creek Massacre)

Interestingly, a young uncle of Winter Rose died in California at age 20 in April 2009.  No info about cause of death.

But, he seems to have been a well-liked football player with many friends on his MySpace:

WHY are these young people dying? Is there any "connection"???????

He was preceded in death by grandfathers, John Goodman and Leonard Raigosa; great grandparents, William and Ione Lonebear; nephews, Carlos Goodman and Darrell "Spikey" Hanway; niece, Winter Rose Thomas Jenkins, and cousin, Steve Moss.

Theodore Joseph Raigosa was born in Riverton on April 14, 1989, the son of Edward C. Raigosa II and Rebecca R. (Brown) Kuka. He lived on the Wind River Reservation until the age of 7 and then moved to California where he was graduated from San Clemente High School.

He returned to Wyoming two years ago and often traveled between Wyoming and California.

He had worked for Sandwich Buddies in California and as a card dealer and customer service representative at the Wind River Casino.

He had been in the auto tech academy in high school where he played football and lettered varsity. He also lettered in track and field.

His family said he enjoyed going to the beach and spending time with his family and friends. He liked music, the family said, especially playing his guitars, and getting on the computer. He liked to DJ events and spending time with his nephews and nieces, going to sweats, and other ceremonies.

In Memory of Winter Rose Thomas (Jenkins)

Photo from  15 years, Riverton, United States (IF this is not Winter Rose Thomas, please alert us and we will remove this photo as found in Goggle Images)

Arapaho mourn 3 teens, loss of cultural ties

By bmeyer

August 23, 2008, 12:17AM              (IN MEMORY OF Ohetica Win Elyxis Gardner, 13)
APMargaret Wilson holds a portrait of her granddaughter, Ohetica Win Elyxis Gardner, 13, at her home on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, June 17, 2008. Elyxis and two other teenage girls were found dead, all three members of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, in early June, 2008.

WIND RIVER INDIAN RESERVATION, Wyo. — Rows of rundown houses sit among stunted trees on a bleak, wind-swept plateau. The nearest mountains are a faint smudge on the horizon, and a boarded-up house marks the end of the road.

Three teenage girls died here, at the Beaver Creek housing complex, in early June. All three were members of the Northern Arapaho Tribe.

Federal authorities have not said what killed them, although tribal leaders say the deaths highlight the scourge of drugs and alcohol on the reservation. And the leaders say the deaths show the price the tribe continues to pay for the slow evaporation of its culture, native language and traditional ways.

"At this point, it seems that we’re losing it," said Harvey Spoonhunter, co-chairman of the Northern Arapaho Business Council, the tribe’s governing body. "I think the youth, from 12 to 18, are kind of lost. They don’t know their place in the tribe."

Ohetica Win Elyxis Gardner, 13, Winter Rose Thomas, 14, and Alexandrea "Alex" Whiteplume, 15, were all found dead on the morning of June 4. Authorities have declined to release details on the circumstances surrounding their death.

Autopsies have been performed. The FBI says the investigation is ongoing.

Meanwhile, young people on the Wind River Reservation say drugs and alcohol are prevalent. And they say children need more supervision.

Whitney SunRhodes, 16, addressed a community meeting two weeks after the girls were found dead.

"What happened to the girls over at Beaver Creek, sad to say, it woke everybody up, right? It’s sad to say that it took their deaths to bring our tribe together as one," said SunRhodes, who knew one of the girls.

The tribe’s youth need more help, she said.

"We need more parental supervision. We need more guidance. We need more activities out there that will keep kids involved," SunRhodes said.

Margaret Washington, Elyxis’ grandmother, would agree. She said Elyxis and other children at the housing complex were frequently out on the streets at night, unsupervised. She said people from outside the community commonly cruise through the complex.

"We need a recreation area around here, where kids can play basketball," Washington said. "Kids drop out of school, and don’t finish their education."

Loreal Bell, Elyxis’ mother, said she has been trying to make a better life for her family. She enlisted in the Army in July 2007 and is stationed at Ft. Knox, Ky. She said her superiors have delayed her deployment to Iraq so she can grieve for her daughter.

Bell, 31, said Elyxis had a difficult time adjusting to life on the reservation after living off of it for some time.

"I think my daughter tried a little too hard to try to fit in, she was an impressionable age," Bell said. "That seems to be like a normal thing on the reservation, like drugs and alcohol. And she was exposed to it more, and I don’t know that she knew how to handle it."

Northern Arapaho leaders say children on the reservation commonly fall through the cracks. They say that drugs and alcohol combine with a tattered social fabric leave many young people without support.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2001 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, American Indians and Alaska natives had the highest rate of any racial group, at 9.9 percent. The rate among whites was 7.2 percent.

Denied a reservation of their own, the Northern Arapaho were herded onto the reservation they now share with the Eastern Shoshone. In the 20th century, many Northern Arapaho youth were forced to attend government boarding schools where they were forbidden to speak their native language. The federal government, for a time, even banned the celebration of the tribe’s Sun Dance, its main religious ceremony.

Although there are programs in the schools to teach the Northern Arapaho language to children, experts say the youngest people fluent in the Northern Arapaho language are about 60 years old.

"Lives are filled with despair," said Sergio A. Maldonado, director of tribal education for the Northern Arapaho. He said he sees his tribe still working through the effects of its historical grief. And rather than assimilating into mainstream America, he said he sees many tribal members suffering from, "a complete identity loss. A social dysfunction."

While Maldonado said some Northern Arapaho families are flourishing and their children succeeding, he said far too many are not. He estimated the dropout rate on the reservation at 40 percent.

Richard Brannan serves as CEO of the Wind River Service Unit, which manages two health clinics serving more than 10,000 people, both Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone, on the reservation.

Brannan said the center has a contract with each tribe to provide substance abuse treatment. "But it’s so underfunded it’s almost ridiculous," he said. "We have a long waiting list of people waiting to go to treatment."

Brannan said the average age of death on the Wind River Indian Reservation is 49 years old. "So we basically have the same life expectancy as somebody in Africa," he said.



From Tim Giago’s article we know:

Alexandria is the daughter of Alex White Plume from Manderson on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Who are Ohetica Win Elyxis Gardner, 13; Alexandria White Plume, 14; and Winter Rose Thomas, 15? If you don’t know, you are not alone. Millions of people may never know about these three young ladies because for all intents and purposes, the national media has seen fit not to cover their unsolved deaths on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.

The people of Wind River have not forgotten them. Jake Bell, the grandfather of Ohetica, is still mourning her death and he is still trying to find out how and why she died in a rental home in the Beaver Creek housing development on the Wind River Reservation on June 6, 2008.

Read more:
Let us not forget them either… We want accountability from the FBI in these unsolved murders and others!












About katfirewoman

"A Watcher"
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