BILLINGS — The Billings Police Department said Tuesday it is looking for two suspects in connection with the assault on Silver Little Eagle, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council.
Lt. Brandon Wooley said in a news release that the department is searching for a 25-year-old woman from St. Xavier and a 27-year-old woman in connection to the May 16 assault on 23-year-old Little Eagle.
Wooley also provided new information about the case that has gained traction on social media in recent days. He said a second victim has been identified as a 31-year-old man from Lame Deer.
He did not release the names of the women being sought for questioning or the man who was also assaulted. Wooley said there is "believed to be a partner family member association between the 31-year-old male and the 27-year-old female person of interest."
"Further, it is believed there is some type of association between all parties involved and the crime is not believed to be a random act of violence between unknown parties," Wooley said. There is no indication the incident is "racially motivated or connected to human trafficking," he added.
According to Wooley, the case began shortly after 11 a.m. on May 16 when officers were dispatched to a room at the DoubleTree hotel in downtown Billings for a report of a woman who had been assaulted. The victim, later identified as Silver Eagle, was taken to a medical facility for treatment of her injuries, he said.
During the investigation, officers learned of a second victim, the 31-year-old man, who was assaulted at the same location and time as Silver Eagle. Wooley also said officers learned the victim was missing personal property and her vehicle, which was later found by officers in the 1700 block of Montana Avenue.
The case drew wide attention on social media when a GoFundMe account was created for Little Eagle stating she was "brutally attacked and left for dead" in Billings. The youngest member of the tribal council suffered severe physical injuries as well as the theft of her vehicle and personal belongings, the post states.
“Had Councilwoman Little Eagle not been found by a family member, it is very likely she would have died from this violent attack. That speaks to the severity of her injuries,” the donation account page states.
On Monday, a Billings police officer confirmed there was an investigation into the reported assault and Little Eagle had "suffered non-life-threatening injuries."
Wooley said on Tuesday that despite the information shared by the department on Monday it would not provide further information on the severity of the injury.
Wooley also noted the "significant" public interest in the case. "The BPD has received a significant amount of inquiries from the media regarding the details of this case. The BPD recognizes there is heightened public interest in this case and is aware of information sharing on social media platforms that may lead to rumors," Wooley said.
The department will not be releasing any further information on the investigation at this point, said Wooley. "The BPD is committed to conducting a timely and thorough investigation while maintaining the integrity of the investigation, protecting and providing justice for victims, and ensuring proper due process," Wooley said.