October will mark a year since Crow Indian Reservation native and Montana resident, Kimberly Iron, went missing. The 21-year-old mother of three vanished from her Billings, Montana, home and was last seen in Sept. 2020. NBC News reports that Kimberly’s father, Curtis Iron, received a series of mysterious phone calls from Kimberly. The first came on Sept. 22, from Las Vegas, Nevada, saying her boyfriend had been arrested, then another call came days later from the Long Beach, California, area. On both occasions, Mr. Iron says his daughter was in tears.
According to an NBC interview, Curtis said it was unusual for his daughter to call from different states because she rarely traveled outside of the Montana area. In addition, Curtis tried to track the numbers and call them back, but each time they were disconnected. The family last heard from Kimberly when she called on Oct. 6, 2020, from the Los Angeles area. She told Iron she was fine, but the family still got a feeling something was wrong.
“Something didn’t add up,” he said. “She was always on speakerphone. So the people she was with — whoever they were — could hear everything she was saying. She would tell me that she was OK, but she didn’t sound OK to me, and she didn’t sound like herself.”
Dateline states the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office processed a missing person report in September and considered the case an open investigation.
“We believe that at this time, Kimberly Iron is in the Greater Los Angeles area,” Capt. J. Middlestead said. “We know she has contacted her family, but until she notifies law enforcement, this is still considered to be a missing persons case.”
Curtis is concerned that his daughter could be being sex trafficked or is in harm in some other way. However, the sheriff’s office says that foul play is not suspected since Kimberly has not contacted the department.
“We’re just very worried,” Iron told Dateline. “Her kids keep asking about her. When I go visit them, they look in my truck and say, ‘Is our mom with you?’ It just breaks my heart.”
Kimberly’s grandmother, Marilyn Chief, who Oxygen reports is now a guardian of the children, shared with Dateline that she’s tried to reach Kimberly on social media — but her answers are short and mysterious.
“She has responded, but it doesn’t make sense,” she said. “The responses are short and odd, and they don’t sound like her. We feel like someone is messing with us.”
Chief tells Dateline that missing people and loss aren’t uncommon on the reservation. She experienced several losses and unsolved murders firsthand, including those of her brother, son and grandchildren.
“The life we live on this reservation — we never get justice,” Chief said. “But we still fight for it. What we’ve already been through was so tragic. Now, this. That’s why I knew I had to step in. We need a plan. A plan to bring her home safe.”
Family and friends are continuing their search efforts, and fundraisers have been started on social media and in the community to locate Kimberly. Kimberly’s location is still unknown. Anyone who might have information about Kimberly’s whereabouts is asked to call the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office at (406) 665-9780.