Miss­ing Dakota ac­tivist found dead in river near protest camps.

Of­fi­cials: Cause of death un­known

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY VA­LERIE RICHARD­SON

An ap­par­ent Dakota Ac­cess Pipe­line ac­tivist miss­ing since Oc­to­ber has been found dead float­ing in the Can­non­ball River near the site of the for­mer protest camps.

A lo­cal fish­er­man dis­cov­ered the body of Dam­jan Nedelkovski, 35, of Glen­dale, Cal­i­for­nia, near the shore­line at the river’s mouth, ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease is­sued Mon­day by the Mor­ton County Sher­iff’s Depart­ment in Man­dan, North Dakota.

“Fam­ily and friends re­port that their last con­tact with Nedelkovski was on Oc­to­ber 29, 2016,” said the state­ment. “His step­brother filed a miss­ing per­son re­port with the Glen­dale Po­lice Depart­ment on Novem­ber 16, 2016. Nedelkovski was known to be at the protest camps.”

The au­topsy per­formed by the North Dakota Med­i­cal Ex­am­iner’s of­fice in Bis­marck re­vealed “no trauma to the body to sus­pect any foul play. The cause of death is still pend­ing, and author­i­ties are un­sure how long the body was in the river.”

The man was found with a Re­pub­lic of Mace­do­nia iden­ti­fi­ca­tion card. His fam­ily in the U.S. and East­ern Europe have been con­tacted, the sher­iff said.

Thou­sands of pro­test­ers de­scended on the re­mote south-cen­tral North Dakota prairie last year in an ef­fort to stop the $3.8 bil­lion pipe­line pro­ject, which was com­pleted last month af­ter se­cur­ing a fi­nal ease­ment in Jan­uary.

Some protests turned vi­o­lent as ac­tivists blocked roads and bridges and threw rocks, bot­tles and other pro­jec­tiles at of­fi­cers, who re­sponded at var­i­ous times with tear gas, bean­bag rounds, rub­ber bul­lets and water hoses.

A to­tal of 709 ar­rests stem­ming from the protest were made from Au­gust to Fe­bru­ary, 661 of which in­volved outof-state pro­test­ers, but no deaths were re­ported un­til now.

The last few hun­dred pro­test­ers living in the camps on fed­eral land along the Can­non­ball River were evac­u­ated in Fe­bru­ary in or­der to clear the way for a cleanup ef­fort by the U.S. Army Corps of En­gi­neers.

North Dakota ra­dio talk-show host Rob Port of WDAY-AM called the dis­cov­ery “very sad news.”

“Re­mem­ber we had some bru­tal win­ter weather dur­ing the protests,” said Mr. Port on the Say Any­thing blog. “With thou­sands of peo­ple camp­ing out­side, many of them not fa­mil­iar with the dan­gers of win­ter in North Dakota, the sil­ver lin­ing (if there can be said to be one) is per­haps that there’s just one dead.”

Mor­ton County has asked “any­one with any ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing Nedelkovski’s where­abouts between Oct. 29 and April 9 to con­tact the depart­ment at (701) 667-3330.”

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