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Old 03-03-2004, 09:58 PM   #1
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Unhappy Flathead Reservation: Two 11-year-olds Die of Alcohol/Hypothermia

http://www.billingsgazette.com/index...s-released.inc

Officials release names of dead 11-year-olds
Associated Press

HELENA - Two 11-year-old boys whose bodies were found in a snowy field on the Flathead Indian Reservation died after consuming massive amounts of liquor, Lake County Sheriff Bill Barron said Tuesday.

"It's pretty sad when you have to lift them out of a snowbank and put them in a bag," Barron said. "It's a terrible tragedy."

The bodies of Frankie Sonneah Nicolai and Justin Benoist, both of Ronan, were discovered in a field Monday by one of their friends. Barron said it appeared both died late Friday or early Saturday, but had not been reported missing all weekend.


Barron said Frankie, who had a blood-alcohol level of 0.5 percent, died of alcohol poisoning. Barron said a blood-alcohol level of 0.4 percent can be lethal in an adult.

Justin died of a combination of alcohol poisoning and hypothermia, said Barron. His blood-alcohol level was 0.2 percent.

Barron said he had not determined why the boys were in the field, but they had apparently been drinking with other friends and went there under their own power.

Benoist's 14-year-old brother, Tyler, was found dead of smoke inhalation in a burned trailer in Pablo in November. Authorities said he passed out from drinking and had a blood-alcohol level of 0.233 percent. Barron also investigated Tyler Benoist's death.
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Old 03-03-2004, 10:07 PM   #2
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Old 03-03-2004, 10:19 PM   #3
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That is so awful! Do they have a rec center in that area? Seems awful that the only thing for kids to do for fun is drink. I second Witchy Woman on the whole where the hell were the parents thing? As a single mom I know it is hard to make sure your kids are supervised and safe all the time, but it is a responsibility and people need to live up to theirs.

Wakalapi, thanks for keeping us all informed. I hope the community they lived in takes a look at what types of programs are out there to educate and entertain their youth.

Truly tragic.
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Old 03-04-2004, 01:05 AM   #4
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this is too sad. I cannot imagine losing a child much less two. I'm not going to assume that the parents don't care just because they did'nt report them missing.. for all we know the kids could have told each of their parents they were staying the night at each other's houses... and even if that is not the case.. i still say prayers of comfort to both of the families.
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Old 03-04-2004, 01:24 AM   #5
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THIS IS A SAD STORY . I FEEL FOR THE FAMILY,,,, BUT AS THE SAYING GOES IT'S 10:00 DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR KIDS ARE:dontknow:
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Old 03-04-2004, 08:56 AM   #6
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yeah my friend who lives out dere was tellin me bout that...they were at like a house party or whatever.

it is sad.:(

alcohol is a disease...
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Old 03-04-2004, 10:19 AM   #7
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Drinking Deaths of Two Boys Shakes Town
Drinking Deaths of Two 11-Year-Old Boys Leaves Montana Town Shaken, Asking Questions

The Associated Press



RONAN, Mont. March 4 — When two 11-year-old boys did not show up for afternoon classes at their middle school last Friday, no one was alarmed they were probably just playing hooky.
But when their frozen bodies were found in a snowy field Monday dead from drinking massive amounts of liquor it set off an anguished search for whoever or whatever was responsible.



"If two kids are intoxicated to the point that they lay down on the prairie and die, there's some negligence there," Lake County Sheriff Bill Barron said Wednesday. "Somebody has got to be responsible for these two kids just laying down and dying. If it's the system, we're going to have to work on the system."

Frankie Sonneah Nicolai III and Justin Benoist apparently skipped school Friday afternoon, got their hands on a large quantity of liquor and ran off to drink it.

A friend who went searching for them Monday found their bodies about 100 yards apart in a field outside Ronan, on the Flathead Indian Reservation of northwestern Montana. Barron said they apparently died late Friday night or very early Saturday.

In the reservation town of 1,800 people just south of Flathead Lake, residents were still reeling from the news and questioning how it could have come to this.

"Two young boys like that it's a shock with them being so young," said Mike Freeman, a pharmacist in town. "People, when they talk about it, aren't pointing fingers, but they want to know what happened. The prevailing feeling is, `How can that happen to two young boys in our community?'"

Alcohol poisoning killed Frankie, the sheriff said. Frankie had a blood-alcohol level of 0.50 percent more than six times Montana's 0.08 percent legal threshold for drunken driving, and well more than enough to kill an adult. Justin's reading was 0.20. He died of alcohol poisoning and hypothermia. Temperatures Friday night dropped to the mid-20s.

Barron said authorities were investigating whether an adult or adults gave liquor to the youths. But initial indications were that the boys probably had taken it from homes where they knew it would be left out and easy to snatch.

"What we're finding is that they pilfered it from different places," the sheriff said.

Barron said he also was alarmed that his office had not been notified all weekend that the boys were missing.

Parents of both boys, however, did notify tribal police on Friday that the two had run away, and tribal police listed them as runaways on the national law enforcement computer system, said Lt. Les Clairmont. Tribal police normally notify the sheriff's office as well, but Clairmont did not know whether that had occurred this time.

Neither Frankie nor Justin had been in serious trouble before, Clairmont said.

Justin's 14-year-old brother, Tyler, died of smoke inhalation in a trailer house fire in nearby Pablo last November. Investigators said he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.23 percent and had passed out.

Alcohol abuse is not unheard of on the reservation, even among teenagers, but the boys' deaths angered area residents.

"It makes me sick," said resident Donna Lee Lowe. "I'm dumbfounded. The whole town should have been looking for these children. We might have saved their lives."

Justin and Frankie were in class until 1:25 p.m. Friday, but skipped the rest of the day. Authorities said there were indications the two had been drinking with others, and police were still attempting to question other children.

Ronan Middle School Superintendent Andy Holmlund said the school district alerts parents any time a student is tardy or absent, and tribal police are notified if there are indications the student might be in danger. There was no sign that Justin and Frankie might be in danger, he said.

"None they were just skipping school," he said.



Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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Old 03-04-2004, 11:00 AM   #8
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OMG what the hell is wrong with people. HOw could they have not contacted anyone and let them know 11 year old children was missing. Why was children drinking anyway...
That is so awful! My prayers are with the family and children!
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Old 03-04-2004, 06:02 PM   #9
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Flathead Reservation boys had been reported missing

Flathead Reservation boys had been reported missing
Thursday, March 4, 2004

Two 11-year-old boys from the Flathead Reservation in Montana were reported missing by their families before being found dead of alcohol consumption and exposure.

Contrary to the county sheriff, the families filed runaway reports with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal police. One boy was even entered into the National Crime Information Center database.

The sheriff also said the boys were suspended from school but the Indian education coordinator said both came to school on Friday morning and stayed through lunch. The boys may have left later that day.

The boys, Justin Benoist and Frankie Nicolai, were tribal members, the coordinator said.
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Old 03-04-2004, 07:22 PM   #10
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That is sooo sad that these children had to go through that. It makes me so angry that something like this is allowed to happen :Mad
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Old 03-07-2004, 08:59 PM   #11
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This is so sad.. but it's real...

Our people are starting to consume alcohol or "experiment" with drugs at a younger age. We definately need programs in place for our youth!! Sometimes it feels like we've overlooked our youth... they are the future.

I know on our rez... there are a few programs... i.e The tribal police have "movie nights"... and different activities. However, there haven't been any programs put in place to educate the youth on the effects of alcohol and drugs.... well.. something to discourage them from going down that road. We also have an annual Youth Gathering.... where we have Native Role Models coming in to speak with them on various issues.

BUT.... We need more Native role models who actually practise what they preach!! Juss like na Moochoom said.. Can't have an Eagle feather in one hand and a beer bottle in the other. The younger people learn what they see... if they see ppl boozing/doing drugs... chances are.. they will too.

It's all peer pressure these days. We have young kids who try to "be cool" by drinking. It's sad.. when ya see young kids throwing their lives away like that. These kids have so much potentional...

I cannot imagine losing such young family members. My prayers go out to the family who've lost their sons/brothers...
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Old 03-07-2004, 11:05 PM   #12
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I was related to Frankie, and knewJustin because his brother Tyler was my close friend. Its hard to lose loved ones to drugs and alcohol. Its hard because me and my sis were some of the last people to see them alive. they were at a house party,but I dont really want to discuss this.
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Old 03-08-2004, 06:18 PM   #13
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This can happen anywhere in Indian Country. Whether you live in the cities or on reservations, alcohol is slowly killing our people.

My prayors go out to the families of the boys. Also to the families struggling with alcohol abuse & alcohol related issues now.
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Old 03-10-2004, 10:39 PM   #14
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..because alot of children are being raised in homes where alcohol is more available than food. It's what alot of kids have watched their whole lives, what do we expect of them? Adults need to take the responsibility that they created when they brought these lives into this world. In our way, our Wakanyeja - our children are sacred. This is our future and we have to go beyond our own selfishness, depression, oppression and be strong for the future of our people - and that's these kids.
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Old 03-11-2004, 03:09 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by WambliNagi
..because alot of children are being raised in homes where alcohol is more available than food. It's what alot of kids have watched their whole lives, what do we expect of them? Adults need to take the responsibility that they created when they brought these lives into this world. In our way, our Wakanyeja - our children are sacred. This is our future and we have to go beyond our own selfishness, depression, oppression and be strong for the future of our people - and that's these kids.
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