Arrest made in connection with death of Oglala Sioux woman

From left: Phillip Red Bear Sr. (sons’ father), Chevy Red Bear (son), Raymond Waters Sr. (father of Jessie), Phillip Red Bear Jr. (son), Anthony Waters (uncle), and Elizabeth Waters (aunt) stand on the spot where Jessie Waters was found dead on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Photo by Richie Richards / Native Sun News

Federal authorities have arrested a man in connection with the death of a woman from the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota.

Duane Benson is facing a federal arson charge. He is accused of setting fire to the home of Jessie Waters on the Pine Ridge Reservation last December.

Benson, though, has not been charged for the death of Waters, whose body was found on the reservation on April 30. She was three months pregnant at the time and her family and friends have been seeking justice for the slain woman in an case first reported by The Native Sun News.

Jessie Waters, 1984-2015.

Benson was indicted on May 19, according to federal court records, just a couple of weeks after Waters was found dead. However, he was not arrested until last Thursday.

"We are overjoyed," Anthony Waters, an uncle of Jessie Waters, told KOTA of the arrest. "It should have happened a month ago."

The Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are handling the case. The Oglala Sioux Tribe's police chief said Benson's arrest is connected to Waters' death but information is scarce -- the original indictment on the arson charge was originally filed under seal.

Waters had petitioned for an order of protection against Benson in tribal court, prior to her death, alleging abuse at the hands of her partner. She said she feared for her safety and that of her two other children.

The petition was filed on April 7, The Native Sun News reported. Francis Waters, the victim's brother, said he last saw his sister with Benson on April 11, the day of her 31st birthday.

Family members were told that other people last saw Waters and Benson together on the afternoon of April 30. Her body was found a few hours later, The Native Sun News reported.

Get the Story:
Man arrested on arson charge linked to death of Oglala woman (KOTA 6/19)
Police: Man Arrested In Connection To Death Of Oglala Woman (KDLT 6/20)

Related Stories
Native Sun News: Oglala family demands justice for slain mother (6/11)

Join the Conversation