Still Unsolved: Olivia Lone Bear Found Dead In Submerged Truck After She Vanished In 2017

“Our primary goal is to uncover the facts surrounding her death in order to get a clear picture of what actually occurred,” FBI officials say.

Olivia Lone Bear, 32, pictured here smiling, was reported missing on Oct. 27, 2017. Nine months later, her body was found in a submerged truck.

The search continues for answers in the case of a North Dakota Indigenous woman whose body was found in a submerged vehicle nine months after she disappeared.

Photo by: Olivia Lone Bear via Facebook

Olivia Lone Bear via Facebook

By: Aaron Rasmussen

The search continues for answers in the case of a North Dakota Indigenous woman whose body was found in a submerged vehicle nine months after she disappeared.

On Oct. 27, 2017, the Three Affiliated Tribes Police Department took a missing person report on 32-year-old Olivia Keri Lone Bear. According to police, the mother of five was last seen alive in a borrowed Chevy Silverado pickup truck in New Town two days earlier, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

Volunteer searchers initially were unable to locate Lone Bear, but a group using sonar to search Lake Sakakawea on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation located a submerged truck on July 31, 2018. The vehicle was found in around 21 feet of water about 400 feet from the shore, federal prosecutors in North Dakota said.

“That one was a priority for me because it’s kind of secluded,” Lissa Yellow Bird, the founder of the volunteer group Sahnish Scouts of North Dakota, noted of investigating the lake. “Not too many people would have noticed.”

Lone Bear’s body was secured with a seatbelt in the passenger-side seat of the truck, which had broken windows, unsealed court documents show.

According to federal officials, Lone Bear’s cause of death was ruled undetermined and there were “no definitive traumatic, natural, or toxicological causes for her death.”

A witness told investigators Lone Bear texted him shortly before she went missing to say she had attended a bonfire and was going mudding, or off-road driving, states an affidavit obtained by Minnesota Public Radio.

According to the document, investigators were never able to find any witnesses who went to a bonfire or mudding with Lone Bear. The submerged truck was located around 1.5 miles from her home, officials said.

A site set up in the wake of Lone Bear’s disappearance — Searching for Olivia Lone Bear — notes the number of missing and murdered indigenous women in the region, and the Bakken oil fields, is an epidemic.

“Since the boom of the area, trafficking and other dangerous situations for Indigenous women have skyrocketed with the rise of the oil and gas extraction industry’s presence,” the site states. “This is not a new issue. There is often no reporting or response statistics around missing Indigenous people out of the area.”

Federal law enforcement officials met with family, tribal members, and local authorities to update them on the case in November 2019, just over a year after Lone Bear’s remains were found.

“Olivia's family and members of her community want to know what happened to her and so do we," Minneapolis FBI Special Agent in Charge Jill Sanborn said in a statement at the time. “We share the desire to bring closure to this case and peace to Olivia's family and fully understand the frustration a lengthy investigation can cause. Our primary goal is to uncover the facts surrounding her death in order to get a clear picture of what actually occurred.”

United States Attorney Drew Wrigley said agents are committed to the case and “will continue to pursue all leads and pathways on the road to the truth.”

Wrigley added, “That’s our pledge to Olivia, and to those who knew and loved her.”

The FBI has offered an award for information leading to the identification of those responsible for Olivia Lone Bear’s disappearance. Anyone with information is urged to call (800) CALLFBI (1-800-225-5324) or file tips online.

Next Up

North Dakota Woman Accused Of Killing Her College Roommate After Their Friendship Soured

“It just took a little bit of refocusing and a lot of paying attention to the fine details,” police said of making an arrest for the murder of Anita Knutson following years of investigation.

1986 Cold Case Murder Victim Identified As California Woman After Nearly Four Decades

In February 1986, the body of a woman was found near campsites in San Diego County. 37 years later, thanks to advances in DNA technology, she was finally identified as Claudette Jean Zebolsky Powers.

Headless, Handless Body Found In 1980 Was Finally Identified Over Four Decades Later

On March 20, 1980, police in Fishkill, New York found a decapitated and handless body. 42 years later, the body was identified as 44-year-old Manhattan woman Anna L. Papalardo-Blake.

‘Lady In The Fridge’ Identified After Nearly Three Decades, Killer Still At Large

The murdered body of a woman was found in a fridge in a small California community nearly three decades ago, and she was finally identified as Amanda Lynn Schumann Deza. Now the search for her killer continues.

Who Killed Maria Hsiao? Art Student Celebrating Her 21st Birthday Shot Outside Nightclub

“Even someone with second or third-hand information about what happened may hold the missing piece of the puzzle,” Palo Alto police say.

Cold Case Victim Identified As Southern California Mother 27 Years After Her Murder

A female body was found near a highway in the Moreno Valley area of California in 1996. After 27 years, she has been identified as 41-year-old Juana Rosas-Zagal.

Can You Help Identify ‘Baby Jane Doe’ Who Was Found In Georgia In December 1988?

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is offering a reward. According to published reports, investigators believe the child was dead at least two to three months before she was found. If you know anything about this case, please consider calling 800-597-8477.

Chicago Woman Who Went Missing After Taking Uber Ride Has Been Found Dead

21-year-old Rosa Chacon went missing in January 2023 after getting into an Uber ride outside her home in Chicago. Two months later, her body was found tied up, wrapped in sheets, and dumped in a shopping cart.

Police Identify Remains Of Murdered California Woman After More Than 30 Years

Marina Ramos and her two small children disappeared in the late 1980s. Police finally identified a body found in Mohave County as Ramos, but her two daughters remain missing.

Trucker Charged In Kansas City Cold Case Murders, Police Believe There May Be More Victims

A 52-year-old man has been charged with two gruesome cold case murders that have haunted Kansas City for decades.