Yankton Sioux Tribe shocked by murder of two-year-old toddler

Leaders of the Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota say the murder of a two-year-old girl highlights jurisdictional problems on the reservation.

RieLee Lovell was found dead in a home in rural Wagner. Although the home is part of a tribal complex, it sits on non-trust land, which the federal courts have ruled are not within the tribe's jurisdiction.

"I think our whole system down here needs to be overhauled,” Secretary Glenford “Sam” Sully told The Sioux Falls Argus Leader. “We have a lot of officers around here, but they can’t always work together as well as they could.”

Tribal security can patrol the complex but they don't have authority to arrest anyone. That's left up to Charles Mix County Sheriff’s Office, whose headquarters are 16 miles away, the paper said.

An 11-year-old boy is being held in connection with RieLee's death. Two adults are also in custody. Five children who lived in the home have been taken into protective custody.

Get the Story:
Tribal lines blur in girl's death (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 7/11)

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