Charges filed after two children found malnourished on Pine Ridge Reservation

A sign on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Photo by Jimmy Emerson

Two children were who were found underweight and malnourished on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota are doing better, The Oglala Spotlight reported on Tuesday.

Independent journalist Karin Eagle, formerly of The Native Sun News, first broke the story last week. The two girls, ages 2 and 3, were found in a home on November 11 by police officers from the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

According to an affidavit filed in federal court, the girls were only wearing diapers. "The officer immediately recognized the children were emaciated and appeared to be starving," Agent Mark Lucas of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

Both girls only weighed 13 pounds, far below the average weights for children at their ages, Lucas stated. They also were infested with lice and the older girl had a serious bed sore that will likely require surgery to correct.

The girls were transported to a hospital in Rapid City and their conditions have improved. "While not out of the woods by a long shot this is encouraging news. The advocacy for these children is tremendous," The Oglala Spotlight reported in an update about the case.

Seven people are now facing charges in connection with the girls' treatment, the Associated Press reported. Federal court records show Darshan Featherman, Roberta Featherman, Terry Featherman, Tressa Means Featherman, Harold Red Owl Sr., Jeff Shoulders and Rainbow Spoonhunter and have been indicted.

Of the seven, Darshan Featherman, Roberta Featherman and Red Owl are charged with assault resulting in serious bodily injury. The other four are charged with misprision of a felony because they allegedly knew of the girls' conditions but didn't do anything about it.

Read More on the Story:
Update: Potato Creek Incident (Oglala Spotlight 11/29)
2 malnourished girls found on South Dakota reservation (AP and KOTA TV 11/29)

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