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Stories of the MMIW: Henny Scott - Undetermined

Every eight hours another Native American woman, or girl goes missing in the United States. Of all fifty states, Montana appears to be the most dangerous for Indigenous women and girls alike. A look through the rest of the Stories of the MMIW series in this blog will prove as much. Many of these cases covered here so far have taken place in Montana. A docuseries found on Peacock by the title of Murdered and Missing in Montana, covering this case along with two others, expresses this sad truth.

Her obituary on states that Henny Leslie Scott was born on January 9, 2004, in Crow Agency in Montana. Her mother, Apolonia 'Paula' Castro-Stops, and her father, Charles Scott Jr., were more than overjoyed at her arrival into the world. A member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Henny's Cheyenne name was Neso'eoo'e (Twenty Stands Woman).

Though she lived most of her life in Lame Deer, Montana, Henny and her family moved to Edroy, Texas for a while to take care of her ailing grandfather, Felix. Despite the somber reason for their move, this time was one of the happiest in her young life. Enrolled at Odem Elementary, she was proud to be an "Odem Owl." She joined a cheer camp and began cheerleading at local football games. Every halftime Henny and her squad of peppy girls would perform on the field for the parents in the bleachers. A bright girl with a dedication to school, each time report cards were issued she also came home with another honor roll ribbon. On October 30, 2013, Felix passed away, leading to the family's later return to Lame Deer.

Henny was from an extremely large family that's scattered all over. She even had some relatives in Canada. It was only a year after the loss of her beloved grandfather that she suffered another devastating and personal loss. In October 2014, her brother, C.J., passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, though I haven't found a source stating how.

When it was time to move up to middle school, Henny attended in Lame Deer, where she played basketball in her eighth grade year. She had a passion for the sport and school spirit that she just couldn't contain. Just before her untimely death, she was preparing to play again in the next season. Attending all of the school's basketball games, she was always the loudest in the crowd as she cheered her classmates on. Henny seemed to fully embody the school spirit and loved being a part of the excitement.

Her interests extended beyond basketball, though. She loved music, dancing, singing, hunting, and reading. Only in middle school and already with plans of attending medical school, she would read her mother's EMT books. She learned everything from treating minor injuries to how to administer CPR completely on her own. This young and promising girl was clearly going places in her adulthood. If only she had made it to adulthood.

According to Oxygen True Crime, Henny Scott was only 14-years-old when she went missing on December 7, 2018. When attempts made by her mother to find her through her friends and social media accounts failed, Paula filed a missing persons report. Scripp News quoted the frantic mother when she said that an Amber alert was never issued for her daughter. She was simply told to fill out the necessary paperwork and someone would look into it. The specific person in which she filed that report with left on their Christmas vacation at the end of that work day. While they took a little time off, enjoying time with their loved ones, Henny's family was hoping that someone was already out looking for her. In fact, the report that Paula had filed was still sitting on their desk, untouched, and would remain that way until the officer's return.

On Henny's final day she went to a house in the Muddy Creek area west of Lame Deer, but still inside the Northern Cheyenne reservation, to hang out with some friends. The last time she was ever seen, she was leaving the house on foot. This information comes as part of an issued statement by the U.S. Attorney's Office District of Montana in August 2019. The statement can be found in full on

It took 21 days, but her remains were finally found by a private search group organized by Henny's parents. She was discovered just 200 yards from where she had last been seen, leading many to question how thoroughly the police canvassed the area. Paula was quoted by Oxygen True Crime as stating that it took them only six hours to accomplish what the police department couldn't do in two weeks. It was thought by those who found her that her nose had been broken and that there was bruising present on her skin. Her body was sent off for autopsy and the real mystery unfolded. How did Henny Scott die?

The initial autopsy performed by the coroner's office turned up no indication of foul play. The U.S. Sun reported that her cause of death was ruled as hypothermia, and the manner accidental. According to the statement issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office, no preexisting diseases or trauma that could've contributed to her death were found. They state that she was found wearing light-weight clothing and that she would've been exposed to below-freezing temperatures at night. They also claim alcohol to have had a part in her untimely death. Henny's parents weren't satisfied with the coroner's ruling. Though it went directly against their cultural beliefs, they had her body exhumed for a second autopsy.

Her remains were transported to the Westmoreland County Forensics Center in Greenburg, Pennsylvania for examination by forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht, and coroner Patricia Ross. They found no evidence of blunt force trauma nor any bruising whatsoever. Her nose was found to be unbroken without so much as a fracture to the bone or cartilage. Strangely, though she had supposedly been outdoors for 21 days, there were no bites anywhere on her body from animals or insects. X-rays revealed that all of her bones were intact, without a single injury to speak of. A toxicology report came back clean of any drugs, and much to the family relief, her body showed no evidence of rape. As with the first autopsy no indications were found of murder. In fact a cause of death could not be determined at all.

Dr. Wecht was absolutely mystified by the case. He had no idea what could've killed this beautiful young soul, who held such potential and talent. He was also puzzled by the amount of time it took to find her when she was so close to where she was last seen. It's been wondered if she was possibly placed there sometime later. With the lack of insect and animal bites this theory becomes all the more plausible. Her family wonders how in the world a young girl was able to die so close to a house without anyone noticing her there. How does a young girl disappear only 200 yards away and die under such mysterious circumstances?

Henny's case is just one of many in which drugs, alcohol, or hypothermia are pointed to, without enough evidence to make that determination. In August 2019, when the U.S. Attorney's Office issued their statement the purpose was to publicly announce that no charges were to be filed. A lack of evidence suggesting that a crime had been committed prevented them from moving any further. The FBI had jointly investigated the case with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, but had closed the book on it.

All murders are tragic. It doesn't matter who it is. It's much harder to swallow when the victim is only a child, though, with their entire life ahead of them. Children and teenagers represent the future. They represent overflowing possibilities and eternal hope of change and improvement in the world of tomorrow. Though only 14-years-old, Henny was destined to be a great success on whatever road life would've carried her. A young woman that had dreams of going on to cure the sick and help the injured was robbed of her talent, ambition, intelligence, and life. The hardest part of this story to accept is that no one may ever find out what really happened to that poor, sweet, defenseless girl after leaving her friend's house.

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