BILLINGS, Montana — A woman who was beaten, choked and set on fire on Montana’s Crow Indian Reservation has died more than two months after the violent attack spurred calls for more effective policing on the sprawling reservation.
RoyLynn Rides Horse died early Tuesday, FBI spokeswoman Sandra Barker said.
The 28-year-old woman had been under treatment at a Salt Lake City hospital since the April 17 attack left her with burns over 45 percent of her body and severe frostbite on her legs, according to court documents.
Her death was confirmed by Jackie Blacksmith, the sister-in-law of the victim’s mother. Blacksmith said no additional details were being released by the family.
Two people arrested in the case were charged last week in U.S. District Court with assault with intent to commit murder. Whether additional charges are filed will be up to prosecutors, Barker said.
On the night of the attack, Rides Horse got a ride home from a bar with Dimarzio Swade Sanchez, 18, of Busby, and Angelica Jo Whiteman, 23, of Lame Deer, according to authorities.
Investigators say that following an argument between Whiteman and Rides Horse, Sanchez and Whiteman beat and tried to strangle the victim before dousing her with gasoline and setting her on fire in a field east of Crow Agency, near the border of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.
Attorneys for Whiteman and Sanchez did not immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Prosecutors can add additional charges in pending criminal cases by presenting a superseding indictment to a grand jury, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Hornbein. She declined to comment directly on the Red Horse case.
The assault attracted widespread attention from tribal leaders and state lawmakers and highlighted the difficulties of patrolling a reservation that covers more than 3,100 square miles along the Montana-Wyoming border.
It also stirred frustration among family members and others over the sparse details federal authorities were willing to release in the weeks after the attack.
During a Monday meeting, Crow tribal leaders and federal law enforcement officials discussed ways to increase police patrols across the sparsely-populated reservation. Among the options being considered is cross-deputizing officers from other law enforcement agencies to allow them to patrol on the reservation.