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Missing and Murdered: Native women fear epidemic of violence

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MINNESOTA-- Native women are facing an epidemic of violence in our community.

They're 10 times more likely to be murdered than the national average and sometimes, they just disappear.

That's what happened to Sheila St. Clair. For her daughter, it's been four and a half years of waiting and wondering.

Sheila St. Clair is now a face on a poster, unchanged by the passage of time.

"It just keeps going by. There's like, nothing really happening, no one is, don't know anything about my mom," said her daughter, Stephanie St. Clair.

Stephanie knows the reality after all these years - her mom isn't just missing. But that doesn't mean she's stopped looking.

"If we can just get her home," said Stephanie. "I think I already know what it is, or what it's going to be, just because the feelings I got."

Sheila St. Clair's case is still open. Duluth Police detective Michael Tinsley keeps a picture of her in his office.

"It's a reminder of who she is. Instead of just a case file number," said Tinsley.

To find her, he says he needs information. Any time he gets a lead, Tinsley says he follows up, hoping for a break.

"It's important to the family to get answers so anytime I can go out into the field and spend some time, get the information first hand, I'm going to do that," he said.

So far, that key piece of information is missing, just like Sheila, leaving a hole memories and pictures just can't fill.

"I know she's here in spirit but it would be better if she was here in person," said Stephanie.

Every time a Native women goes missing or is murdered, it creates a ripple of trauma in the families left behind.

For an in-depth look at the statistics behind this issue and what's being done about it, watch 'Missing and Murdered: An Invisible Epidemic' Wednesday, February 12th at 6:30 on KBJR 6.

Bonney Bowman

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