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Fort Hall community honors National Day of Love & Remembrance

CHUBBUCK, Idaho (KIFI) – Signs were on full display on Sunday to advocate for the justice of indigenousness people who are lost or whose deaths have not be concluded.

This included the life of Samantha Bear. The 30-year-old's body was found in a canal near Hiline Road in Chubbuck back in May. 

The Ada County Coroner’s Office says that the cause of death is undetermined and that the manner of death is accidental. The family feels like it wasn’t accidental.

"We want to seek justice for her and we just don't want the case closed and just swept under the rug," said Samantha's Aunt Willeena George. "We know something happened and we want to bring awareness to bringing her justice."

Samantha’s sister Sonia Lavatta says she wants to bring closure to her family regarding her sister’s death. 

"She didn't deserve what happened to her," Lavatta said. "I'm here to stand up for my sister and stand up for her and be her voice."

The group was also advocating for current missing individuals, like Matthew Broncho, who went missing back in 2019.  

These families ultimately want the truth, a reality that Austin Pevo's family got after years of waiting. 

Pevo was murdered back in 2018 and in 2021, a federal jury convicted Justin Beasley of the crime. 

Austin’s mother Susan was quite emotional when she got the news.

"I was ecstatic," Pevo said. "I feel overwhelmed, because for almost three years, I didn't know what happened to my son.

Susan says knowing what happened won’t bring her son back, but gives her strength in using her platform to honor her son’s memory. 

"I feel better about myself, because I feel not quite whole but better," Pevo said. "I wake up every morning. I say my prayers and am thankful that I'm still here to be a voice for my son."

Susan believes what happened to Samantha could be similar to what happened to her son.

"Sam just didn't fall into the canal," Pevo said. "She wasn't left there. Something happened and we as a group and as a family, we all want to know what happened to her."

The family of Samantha Bear is on a mission to find out what happened. 

"It's really tragic to see these young people die like this and there's no answers," George said. "We don't want this case to just be closed. We want justice for Samantha. She deserves justice. She was somebody. She wasn't a nobody."

Police have closed the case on Samantha Bear's death for now, but they say if they receive more information that indicates it was not an accident, they will reopen the case.

If you have any information you are asked to call the Chubbuck Police at 208-237-7172

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Cole Sams

Cole is a reporter for Local News 8.


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