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Series: Waiting for justice on Crow Reservation

The Billings Gazette is running a series on the brutal murders of two young women on the Crow Reservation in Montana.

Koren Diebert, 26, and LaFonda Big Leggins, 23, were found badly beaten to death on Thanksgiving Day 2003. Three brothers known to police as "thugs" were immediately implicated with the crime.

But the paper said the investigation got off to a shaky start. Former Bureau of Indian Affairs investigator Bob Pease, now a county undersheriff, said an FBI agent didn't take much time to look over the crime scene.

Nevertheless, Pease said he presented a good case to charge Eugene, Moses and Randy Rising Sun. The Crow Tribe rounded up the three brothers in anticipation of federal action that never came. Two brothers have since been released from tribal custody and the third, who is facing federal drug charges, could be set free soon.

The case has reservation residents and Crow leaders upset over the lack of prosecution. They say racism is to blame, a charge federal officials deny. About 300 tribal members held a protest last week to demand action a year after the women's deaths.

Get the Story:
A year without answers: 'Some cases take time' (The Billings Gazette 11/29)
Agencies help in solving crimes in Indian Country (The Billings Gazette 11/29)
Awaiting justice: 'A brutal, brutal crime' (The Billings Gazette 11/28)
Violent crime a way of life in Indian Country (The Billings Gazette 11/28)

Relevant Documents:
Crow Tribe Letter | U.S. Attorney's Response

Related Stories:
Crow Tribe blames unsolved murders on racism (11/23)
Charges pending for murders on Crow Reservation (06/25)
Juvenile held for Crow Reservation murders (12/11)
Arrests in Crow Reservation double murder (12/10)
Two women beaten to death on Crow Reservation (12/01)