Autopsy Results May Take Weeks

13-year-old Marisa Spoonhunter was found dead four days after she'd gone missing. (courtesy photo)

By LESLIE STRATMOEN Special to the Star-Tribune with wire reports |

RIVERTON -- Federal and local authorities are investigating the death of a 13-year-old girl whose body was found along a roadside on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Marisa Spoonhunter's body was found off Givens Road, just east of Ethete. She had been missing for four days.

Authorities would not say how she died. Fremont County Coroner Ed McAuslan said suicide is not being considered as the cause of death.

McAuslan said he won't have details until he sees the results from an autopsy, which [was] scheduled for Friday with a forensic pathologist at the McKee Medical Center in Loveland, Colo.

FBI spokesman Dave Joly in Denver said the bureau [sent] extra investigators to assist its local agents in Lander. The coroner's office, Wind River police and the Bureau of Indian Affairs are assisting in the case.

Spoonhunter's parents, Vern and Bernadette Spoonhunter, had been searching for their daughter since Saturday after the Easter Powwow held at Great Plains Hall in Arapahoe, which is off 17 Mile Road.

Spoonhunter was an eighth-grader at Wyoming Indian Middle School.

(Leslie Stratmoen is news director at KTAK/KVOW Radio in Riverton.)

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this poor girl

I feel badly for her family, I have a 12 yr old and I would be devistated to find out she was gone.
I hope they can find out what happened to this poor child and who did this.
My heart and my sympathies go out to her family.

Correct Information

Sheridan Media Listeners / Readers

Thank you for your comments on the initial story we ran yesterday that we picked up from the Associated Press.

In digging a little further, I found the article above, written by News Director Leslie Stratmoen of Riverton Radio stations KTAK / KVOW. She contributed her piece to the Casper Star Tribune. Since she works right at the heart of this tragic case, her updates are reliable.

The picture is from the flyer that was distributed around Fremont County when Marissa Spoonhunter had gone missing.

Mary Jo Johnson
Sheridan Media News

It is a mess

I was confused when they said that too. I had to go back and re-read it. I think they said she was Indian because she was found on the reservation. And why didn't they say native american? My husband is Sioux and he doesn't tell people he's "indian" because they think he's from India! So the person who wrote this did not do a very good job.

Tragic

My heart goes out to this poor girl's family. May she rest in peace.

That being said... What a mess of a story!
First you write that the childs name won't be released, while it is clearly visible on the pictured poster. Knowing SM, I suppose that may just be randomindangirl.jpg.
Then post her name while still stating that the girl's name isn't being released.
Maybe if she wasn't brown her story would be worthy of proofreading and respect.

Pathetic.

Derogatory?

Extremely sad to see a young child killed :(
I would have liked to see the "Indian" replaced by the proper name of the tribe though.

Respectfully,
Tom

my thoughts exactly

I would agree entirely. The first thing I thought was; what a terrible thing to happen. Secondly, You have got to be kidding me, if it were a "white"/caucasian girl they would not point that fact out by saying- "White girl found dead". Come on intentional or not there is really no good excuse.

What a sad story. My

What a sad story. My sincerest sympathies to her family.
One question, though...
Why would someone feel it is necessary to add the adjective "Indian" to this headline? Wouldn't "FBI Investigates Wyoming Girl's Death" or "FBI Investigates Death of a Wyoming Youth" be sufficient?! What is there to gain by adding "Indian"? What difference does it make? She was a 13 year old girl either way.

Again, my deepest sympathies to her loved ones.

Who's name?

Who's name, exactly, is not being released? Oooops, hopefully not that poor girl's picture.