Friday, June 10, 2022

The Disappearance of Larissa Lone Hill


Larissa Lone Hill has been missing since October 3rd, 2016. 

The then-21-year-old was living in Rapid City, South Dakota at the time of her disappearance. Larissa grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation, located approximately 100 miles away from Rapid City. The reservation is one of the largest in the United States, but it unfortunately lacks many resources. Many have described Pine Ridge Reservation as a place with subpar access to employment and healthcare. Additionally, about 35% of high school students on the reservation end up dropping out. Larissa was amongst the very large number of students that ended up never finishing high school. 

Larissa became a mother when she was just 19 years old. Despite her young age, Larissa was excited about raising her daughter. She also loved spending time with her nieces and nephews. Larissa grew up in a family with many siblings—she is number six of eight children born to her parents. Growing up with such a large family contributed to Larissa's nurturing nature when it comes to young children. Larissa's daughter was just two years old at the time of Larissa's disappearance. Although she did not have primary custody of her daughter, she always made a point to spend time with her and it is not believed that Larissa would voluntarily leave her child behind. 

In recent years prior to her disappearance, Larissa began struggling with drug use. Larissa's drug use was the reason that her daughter ended up living full time with the father. Still, Larissa was active in her daughter's life and would often hitchhike or walk several miles so she could visit the young girl. Larissa continued to stay active in her daughter's life even after she decided to move to Rapid City. 

Upon moving to Rapid City, Larissa moved in with her older sister, Carol Piper. By all accounts, Larissa was initially doing well in the new location. She would often spend her free time reading to her nieces and nephews and helping out with household chores. Unfortunately, things turned sour during the fall of 2016. At that point, Carol suspected that Larissa was using drugs again, so she asked Larissa to move out. 

On the evening of October 2nd, 2016, Larissa went back to the Pine Ridge Reservation to visit her mother and talk to her about her spat with Carol. Afterwards, Larissa's boyfriend and a friend picked her up. They had plans to go to nearby Rushmore Mall. According to Larissa's boyfriend, two men showed up to the house the following morning. Larissa reportedly knew both of them, and actually introduced one of them as her cousin (her family would later deny any familial relationship with him). Larissa reportedly left with these men with plans to return to Rapid City. One of the men later told police that he dropped Larissa off at a party. She has never been seen or heard from again.

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A few days later, Larissa's boyfriend reached out to her brother, saying he was concerned because he was unable to get ahold of her. Larissa's brother subsequently reported her disappearance to police. According to the family, the investigation into Larissa's disappearance had a slow start. Larissa was an adult at the time she vanished, and she had a history of drug abuse. Far too often, missing persons cases such as Larissa's fall through the cracks because there is an initial assumption that this person is missing on their own accord.

At some point, police began to interview potential witnesses. Larissa's boyfriend was questioned, and he relayed the information that Larissa left with the two men on October 3rd. It was also determined that Larissa had texted one of her cousins about going to a party with the two men. The two men were also questioned, one of them being the aforementioned man who claimed to have dropped her off at a party. The other man denied seeing Larissa altogether. Neither of these men have been publicly labeled as persons of interest. 

Larissa's loved ones continued to try and raise awareness about her disappearance. Unfortunately, like many other disappearances of Native American women, Larissa's case did not receive much media attention. Years passed without any major updates in Larissa's case. 

In 2020, the Rapid City Police Department renewed a $5000 reward for information that could lead to Larissa's body. At that point, it became clear that investigators believe Larissa is deceased. Despite this, investigators have not labeled her suspected death as a homicide; they have yet to declare a manner of death. They have reported that they believe Larissa's body was disposed of within a 100-mile radius of Rapid City—but they not stated why they believe this. 

Larissa remains unsolved. If you have any information that could help the investigation, please contact the Rapid City Police Department at 605-394-4134 or the Oglala Sioux Tribal Police at 605-867-5111.
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