BROWNING, Mont. - Missing 3-year-old Arden Pepion’s uncle, HaHaax Vielle, and his girlfriend, Kimberly Higgins have been charged in connection with her disappearance.
According to the Blackfeet Tribal Prosecutors Office (BTPO), Vielle was charged with negligent endangerment and child endangerment and Higgins was charged with accountability.
The charges allege Vielle failed to properly supervise a young child in potentially dangerous conditions.
Arden was reported missing on April 22 after she and her uncle spent some time together that night near Joe Show East Road in the Two Medicine Area.
They were reportedly practicing shooting when Vielle noticed she wasn’t near him. He saw her footprints leading to the river which was about 50 yards away from where they were.
BTPO alleges Vielle did not notify law enforcement for several hours after she was last seen and that he also left the area.
According to Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services, they were not given a missing persons report for Arden until five hours after she went missing.
Since then, latkes have been continuing the search for Arden with small groups spending hours looking for the toddler.
Higgin was charged with accountability after investigators say she did not immediately contact law enforcement once she knew Arden was missing.
HaHaax Vielle’s bail was set for $1600, $600 for child neglect and $1,000 for the endangerment
Kimberly Higgins’s bail was set for $1,000 for the accountability charge.
Both Vielle and Higgins have posted bail and Wednesday they plead not guilty to all charges.
A trial date has been set for Sept 15 in Browning.
If convicted, the max sentence for a negligent endangerment charge is nine months in jail and up to 15 days for the child neglect charge.
An accountability charge carries up to a maximum of one year of incarceration.