Oxygen investigates the tragic and suspicious deaths and disappearances of numerous Indigenous women in Montana as part of a new documentary special debuting Nov. 12.
The 90-minute special, Murdered and Missing in Montana, focuses on three young, Indigenous women -- Henny Scott, Kaysera Stops Pretty Places and Selena not Afraid -- whose deaths around the Northern Cheyenne and Crow Reservations remain a mystery to residents and authorities, according to the network. The deaths are part of a spate of reported cases of missing Indigenous girls and women in Montana in recent years.
Oxygen SVP of development, unscripted Cori Abraham said the documentary -- produced by KT Studios -- has been in the works for several years in an effort to tell the story behind the tragedies and to seek justice for the victims. The documentary features interviews from the victims’ family members, local law enforcement, forensic experts and local activists, according to the network.
Here's what Abraham and Oxygen want you to know about Murdered and Missing in Montana.
The special has been in development for more than three years. “KT Studios pitched the show to us around three years ago regarding 27 or so Native American women who had gone missing in Montana. We did a deep dive on it and came up with these three cases that we specifically focus on, but obviously there are many others. There's a lot of conflicting issues with jurisdictions and native American tribal land ... to be honest there just isn't enough law enforcement covering such huge territories in Montana.”
The special shines a light on missing women cases that haven’t received a lot of media attention. “Each time somebody goes missing or is murdered it's a terrible tragedy, including Gabby Petito. Some tragedies obviously get some more coverage than others, but to be truthful all of these tragedies are equal. It’s really unfortunate that these women haven't received a lot of attention. It's not that others shouldn't get attention -- it's just that these women should as well.”
Murdered and Missing in Montana adds to Oxygen’s investigations into missing women of color. “Oxygen has been covering women of color specifically who have gone missing and murdered in the past. We did a special on the [2011 Missouri] disappearance of Phoenix Coldon. We've done one on the (1990) disappearance of the [Dannette and Jeannette] Millbrook twins in Augusta, Ga. Both of those stories were really important, and now 28 indigenous women from roughly the same area have been either murdered or are missing. When we have an opportunity to shed light on something like that it's something that we have to do.”
Oxygen is looking into other cases of missing women around the country. "We're not only looking into Montana, but we're also looking at other states like Washington because there are just so many unfortunate cases where this is happening. In the special, the three women were all found in similar circumstances a few weeks after they went missing, so it just seems like there was some commonality with these murders. Unfortunately, there are many more like them, so it's our obligation to shed light on the bigger issue at large. We’re featuring the tragic stories of Henny, Selena and Kaysera, but there are many, many others.”
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.