Owner of white buffalo accuses sheriff of cover-up



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Posted on August 22, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 22 at 6:57 PM

HUNT COUNTY — Case closed?

Not so fast, said the owner of a sacred white buffalo after an official investigation concluded the animal died of natural causes and was not killed as previously believed.

Rancher Arby Little Soldier, who owned the deceased white buffalo, told a news conference Wednesday he saw the animal skinned from its ear down before it was buried. He insists the animal was killed.

Tuesday, at his own press conference, Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks formally closed the investigation. Meeks said Lightning Medicine Cloud and its mother had been buried for six days before investigators were given access to their carcasses. While Little Soldier claimed the buffalo had been skinned, Meeks said a veterinarian’s report showed the buffalo had its skin.

"We have photographs indicating Lightning Medicine Cloud was not skinned," Meeks said. "The photographs depict skin and hair on the remains and the vet advised there was a lot of skin that was still left on the remains."

Little Soldier is now claiming Meeks covered up the true findings of the investigation.

“There was no skin on him,” Little Soldier said.

He said Lightning’s mother died three days after the calf and that she was suffering from a gunshot wound.

In July, Little Soldier was questioned by investigators about the $45,000 reward fund that came from the public. He now says most of the money came from him and the rest came in the form of pledges and not actual contributions.

The birth of a white buffalo is considered an auspicious sign for some Native Americans. They say it is a sign of the unity of all people.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com