search and rescue team prepares to look for Richard Larrabee, who went missing on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota on August 19, 2016. Photo by James Giago Davies
Larrabee’s body found near Red Scaffold
By James Giago Davies
Native Sun News Today Correspondent
RED SCAFFOLD –– After an hour of conferring at the Frazier Church staging area, it took all of ten minutes for search and rescue to locate the remains of 39-year-old Richard Larrabee, who went missing in the rugged hill country east of Red Scaffold eight months earlier.
Cheyenne River Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier told the gathering:, “Now’s the perfect time to conduct the search—no shrubs, no weeds…” Frazier had called in the Timber Lake Volunteer Fire Department, and sang their praises before the search got underway: “These guys are good, they know what they are doing.”
There was bright sunshine with gusts of westerly wind, and across the gravel road north of Frazier Church, above and beyond a grassy hillside, the hat and boots of Richard Larrabee had been recovered on August 31, 2016, 12 days after he was last seen or heard from.
On August 19, Larrabee called home, and Aunt Twila High Elk said, “That was the last time we ever heard his voice. Twice the searchers searched for him, but they didn’t find anything. We come out every other day since August. We came out even during Christmas, there’s seven of us that come. We concentrated our search mostly where we found his boots.”
Before the search began, Vernell Sitting Crow offered prayer. It was a somber moment, and Christians and Traditional people alike, bowed their heads in respect. The task was daunting. Past search and rescue attempts had proven finding a body in this remote region of the reservation was as difficult a task as any search party could ask for, and it can take years to finally locate remains. In many cases, rescue crew members said, subsequent information narrows the search to a specific area and facilitates eventual recovery.
Grady Kraft, Chief of the Timber Lake VFD, said, “it’s beautiful country,” but not the type of country that lends itself to a systematic grid search. It seemed the search and rescue party would have a long and difficult day ahead.
From Kraft’s official report: “(We were) notified on April 13, 2017 at 10:00am, by Harold Tiger, CRST Emergency Manager, that the Timber Lake VFD Search and Rescue team was requested by the Larrabee Family and Chairman Frazier to search for Richard Larrabee, and that there was a planning meeting at 3:00pm the same day.
“I attended the meeting with Chairman Frazier, Tony Kennedy (BIA Fire), Chief Joe Wicks (CRST Law), Dave Nelson (CRST EPD), Dennis Rousseau (CRST GFP), Kermit Miner, other CRST staff members and family members of Richard Larrabee. I was given a brief history of the situation and maps of the area. “
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