ROSEBUD, S.D. (KELO) — Randall Mandan was clearing his head and taking a walk after arguing with family. Cody White Pipe was hitchhiking after a friend left him on the side of the road. Lari Left Hand Bull was walking home. Harlan Two Eagle’s family isn’t sure what he was doing on the prairie the day he went missing.
All four of these men were killed in hit and runs on South Dakota reservations and their families are no closer to learning what happened than when the deaths happened years ago.
Randall Mandan had just turned 20 years old when he was fatally struck by a vehicle.
After an argument with some family, Mandan’s uncle, Ted Burning Breast, said he went for a walk.
“Somebody comes and runs him over and leaves him there,” Burning Breast said. “They ran him over and killed him and we’re trying to find out who it was and if they have any leads. FBI don’t know nothing, you know, they call it a homicide.”
Burning Breast and Mandan’s family believe the car that struck Mandan and killed him, did so intentionally. Burning Breast said they’ve heard that a 2015 white Chevy truck could be involved but nothing more than that.
“We’ve been pushing with the [Rosebud Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement] and the FBI to get it investigated further but, you know, we get stonewalled,” Burning Breast said.
Cyndi Barrington, the Public Affairs Officer for the FBI Minneapolis Division, said that the FBI has closed their investigation into Mandan’s case and submitted it to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Aileen Crawford with the United States Attorney’s Office said that as no federal offense occurred, no charges were filed.
Mandan’s family has been struggling with the loss of their relative and the lack of answers in the seven years since his death. Burning Breast said that Randall’s mom and siblings hurt every day for him.
“I know he was a good kid, he graduated ahead of time he was really smart,” Burning Beast. “If you needed something he would be there and never really asked for anything. He was outgoing.”
Burning Breast is no stranger to loss, having lost a cousin and a friend to violence and is still searching for answers in those cases as well.
“There’s killers out there, on the reservation, and they need to be brought to justice,” Burning Breast said. “How many more people have to die?”
Lari Left Hand Bull Jr.
Lawrence Left Hand Bull Jr. was known as Lari and was an active member of the St. Francis community.
“He was very happy. He was outgoing. He worked at our local school here. He was a volleyball coach. He was a para educator,” Lari’s sister Candace Metcalf said.
Lari’s sisters say everyone in town knew and liked him.
“He was just everybody’s favorite uncle. He didn’t have any kids, so he took care of all our kids for us. He was very well respected for anything he did,” Metcalf said.
That’s why his sisters couldn’t believe a driver didn’t stop to help him on September 16, 2018.
“Somebody ran over him and left him. Didn’t bother to turn back to check on him or anything. It was just like an unsolved case. They put it as a hit and run. And to me, it just seems like there was no justice for him. There was no– any kind of help that the family had,” Metcalf said.
“I think he was just making his way home and then someone hit him, and I just got the call from my sister, and on social media it shows pictures, but all they did was just, whoever seen it, took pictures and that was it.
Rosebud Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement told KELOLAND News the crash on Bureau of Indian Affairs Highway 1 was handled by the FBI. We reached out to the FBI for additional information but have not yet heard back.
Family members say there’ve been no charges, leaving them without answers or closure.
“And I would just like the case to be re-opened and look more. I feel that the feds didn’t do enough to investigate,” Lari’s sister Pam Left Hand Bull said.
“I’d like to see somebody at least pay for his death because somebody hit him, and somebody knew they hit somebody, but they just went on and drove on by. They didn’t bother to check if he was Ok. They didn’t bother to turn around to check on him. Somebody has to live with that for the rest of their life. Whoever it was, we don’t know,” Metcalf said.
Harlan Two Eagle
For Marvine Douville, the lack of communication following her son’s death has been frustrating.
Douville’s son, Harlan Two Eagle, was killed in a hit and run in 2021. The 32-year-old was missing and so his family began to search the area around Rosebud. On August 7, they found his body on the prairie.
Douville said that after the case was turned over to authorities, her family returned to the spot where they found his body to search for his glasses and phone. They ended up finding Two Eagle’s glasses.
“So, we found that and we called the FBI. So, they came to take pictures and then they took the glasses and then we asked them, ‘Did you find the phone, did you find the phone?’ They wouldn’t tell us anything. I understand that,” Douville said.
The family has ideas of who they think might have hit Two Eagle but they haven’t heard from authorities on what suspects they may have. Douville said she understands that because the case is open, there isn’t much authorities can tell them, but she wishes she could get some updates to know if the case is progressing.
Douville described her son as an outgoing guy that was well-liked. He spent some time in Bismarck and Sioux Falls and was one of her only children to leave the reservation.
“Out of my six children that I had, he was the only one that graduated high school. He was a go-getter,” Douville said.
Douville hasn’t been surprised by the lack of answers from authorities since her son’s death.
“I knew we weren’t gonna get no results, and that it was going to be like this,” Douville said.
Still, she wishes there was more of a focus from federal authorities on the deaths of Native Americans and doesn’t think that they care about deaths on the reservations.
“The FBI really needs to investigate and focus on our Native people,” Douville said. “We just want some justice.”
The FBI told KELOLAND News that Two Eagle’s case is an ongoing investigation.
Cody White Pipe
Cody White Pipe was hitchhiking in Bennett County after a friend left him alone in the middle of the highway. At 21 years old, that was the last time anyone saw White Pipe alive.
“By the time we got to the hospital, he was already gone. It didn’t seem like their sheriff down there or anybody, their police department, really tried to investigate that day,” Aimee White Pipe, Cody’s sister, said.
That was in 2014 when Cody White Pipe was killed in a hit and run. The Bennett County Sheriff’s department says the case is still open but has been turned over to the South Dakota Highway Patrol.
“I want justice for my little brother, I want to know who hit him,” Aimee White Pipe said.
Aimee White Pipe says her brother was always there for whoever needed him.
“He was my soldier. He was my ride or die,” Aimee White Pipe said. “He was my left hand. A lot of people loved him on this reservation and Rosebud Reservation. He was just always there.”
Now she tells Cody’s story whenever she can to remind others to be careful.
“Any chance I get. His friends, anybody,” Aimee said. “I usually try to tell his story, remind them that my little brother got hit hitchhiking. Be aware while you’re hitchhiking on the road. A lot of our Natives, especially the young ones, they’re always hitchhiking.”