Efforts to prosecute an unjustified death lawsuit against the motel have failed, Ms. New Holy said. Private investigators cost more than the family can afford.
By 2019, four years after Ms. Highwolf’s death, another sister, Kim Red Cherries, contacted Facebook to contact the Sovereign Bodies Institute in California, a nonprofit in California that helps tribal peoples who have been victims of sexual violence. Last month, after nearly two years of efforts, Annita Lucchesi, the director of the organization that had publicly declared Ms. Highwolf’s death to be murder, arranged a meeting with the Montana State Doctor and other authorities to review Ms. Highwolf’s case start.
The nearly four-hour meeting that took place late last month and was described by attendees for the New York Times raised additional questions.
Big Horn prosecutor Jay Harris checked copies of police reports at the meeting, including one that said the police found an entry in a diary in the motel room that could be interpreted as a suicide note. It was the first time the family had heard of such a note, and Pauline Highwolf remains skeptical. She has since seen a photo of it and said she was not sure if the handwriting was her daughter’s.
Pauline Highwolf also contradicted a statement in the autopsy report that her daughter had “a history of suicide attempts”. That is not the case, she said. Mr Harris said the information came from a Big Horn County police officer on the night of Allison Highwolf’s death, but could not explain why the officer took it in. The officer has since left the department and has not responded to messages on his cell phone.
The coroner, Dr. Robert Kurtzman, and a staff member who performed Ms. Highwolf’s autopsy, checked the autopsy report. They told Ms. Lucchesi, who represented the family at the meeting, that the marks Ms. Highwolf’s family photographed on her face and neck did not appear in the photos taken prior to her autopsy.