Rancher presses authorities in white buffalo calf death

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by JONATHAN BETZ

WFAA

Posted on July 24, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 24 at 10:15 PM

GREEENVILLE – Frustration is growing with the pace of an investigation into the killing of a rare white buffalo calf that was sacred to Native Americans.

“If justice doesn’t do something, we will,” said Sam Lone Wolf, a Lakota Sioux elder, during a news conference Tuesday at the Lakota Buffalo Ranch.

He and others are frustrated with the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office, accusing investigators of not taking the crime seriously.

“They’re taking this and just trying to hush it up," said the ranch’s owner, Arby Little Soldier. "It’s not a 'hush' situation."

In April, the white buffalo, Lightning Medicine Cloud, was discovered dead along with his mother on the East Texas ranch. The calf - just under a year old - had been butchered. The meat and organs had been removed, along with his precious hide.

The calf’s birth in May of 2011 during a lightning storm was heralded as a sacred event. White buffaloes are extremely rare and are considered a sign of peace and unity by Native Americans.

“It hurts,” Little Soldier said. “It’s like losing a son.”

Tribal elders are convinced other Native Americans, jealous of the tribe’s blessing, likely killed the animal. Yet, no one has been arrested.

“One of my war chiefs just got interviewed [by police] here last Monday,” Little Soldier said. “This has been four months, and he just got interviewed? Why did we wait that long?”

Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks has repeatedly refused to discuss the case, yet he insists the death is still a major focus for his investigators.

“We’ve been tirelessly working on this since the beginning,” he told News 8, adding a grand jury could review evidence as early as Friday. “We’re about to finish it up -- we’re very close.”

Tribal elders certainly hope so. After months of praying and still no arrest, they warn if deputies don’t soon act, they will.

“We will bring those [suspects] and give them to [police] right there on the courthouse steps if we have to,” Lone Wolf said. “You got my word on that.”

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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