Two candlelight vigils, one in Missoula and one in Hardin, were held simultaneously on Monday morning in honor of 18 year-old Kaysera Stops Pretty Places, whose body was found in Hardin on August 29.

The Missoula Vigil was held outside the Missoula Urban Indian Health Center where a spokeswoman provided more details about Kaysera Stops Pretty Places.

“Kaysera was a previous Missoula high school student who has transferred to Hardin schools this year,” she said. “She had intentions to come and enroll here again for high school. I want to mention that Montana has one of the highest rates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in the entire country.”

Photo courtesy of the Stops Pretty Places Family
Photo courtesy of the Stops Pretty Places Family

She went on to explain the meaning of the candlelight vigils.

“The event we’re having here is to seek justice,” she said. “She was a citizen of the Crow nation with ancestors from the Northern Cheyenne, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nations. Her body was found in Hardin, Montana after being reported by her family on August 27th, and she had recently celebrated her 18th birthday.”

The woman’s cousin, T.J. Means also spoke about the purpose of the simultaneous candlelight vigils in Missoula and Hardin.

“Right now, there is a march taking place, a march for justice in Hardin and it was organized for two reasons,” said Means. “The first reason is to pressure those involved in Kaysera’s investigation to do a fair and thorough job, while the second reason is for community outreach to get people who might know something to come forward and share this information with investigators.”

There were representatives from several churches on hand, along with Karen Allen with Missoula County High Schools. There were between 50 and 75 people at the vigil in Missoula on Monday.

The cause and manner of her death are still under investigation.

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