Death of '1923' actor Cole Brings Plenty shows 'no indication of foul play,' sheriff says

No foul play is suspected in the recent death of “1923” actor Cole Brings Plenty, authorities said.

The 27-year-old nephew of “Yellowstone” actor Mo Brings Plenty was reported missing by his family March 31 after an alleged domestic violence incident. Nearly a week later, deputies found his body near an unoccupied vehicle in a wooded area outside Kansas City.

“Detectives, crime scene investigators, and the Medical Examiner’s Office have been working diligently with the Lawrence Police Department and the Brings Plenty family. There is no indication of foul play in the death of Cole Brings Plenty,” said a statement released Wednesday by Johnson County Sheriff Calvin Hayden.

No cause of death was identified.

Meanwhile, local police in Lawrence, Kan., are facing criticism for purportedly treating Brings Plenty primarily as a criminal fugitive rather than a person in crisis or potential victim — an accusation addressed Wednesday by Police Chief Rich Lockhart.

“This is a tragic case for everyone involved. Your Police Department worked very hard to investigate the incidents and worked very hard to find Cole. None of us could have imagined this outcome,” Lockhart wrote on Facebook.

“I learned through this series of events that our Police Department must work harder to increase trust with our Native American community members,” Lockhart continued. “Through meeting with Cole’s family members and members of our Native American community, I clearly see that we are not where we need to be in partnering with a community that is very important to Lawrence’s history and to its current culture.”

Last week, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe — of which Brings Plenty was a citizen — called for “a full and thorough investigation into Cole’s disappearance and subsequent death” and said its attorney general would be contacting Kansas officials “to ensure this is accomplished.”

Before he went missing, Brings Plenty attended a concert at the Replay Lounge in Lawrence on March 30. That night, witnesses said, his braids got tangled in a microphone cable, and a patron attempting to free him cut his hair off without his permission, the Daily Beast reported.

“As a native person, this is a serious violation,” the band performing that night, Beneather, wrote in a since-deleted post.

After leaving the bar around 1 a.m. on March 31, Brings Plenty allegedly went to a nearby apartment, the Lawrence Times reported.

There, officers later responded to “reports of a female screaming for help,” Lawrence police said in an April 2 Facebook post.

“Lawrence Police have submitted an affidavit to the District Attorney for the arrest of Cole Brings Plenty after an incident Sunday morning at an apartment in Lawrence. We’ve identified him as the suspect, have probable cause for his arrest, and issued an alert to area agencies,” the department said, adding, “The suspect fled before officers arrived.”

Police also said that traffic cameras showed Brings Plenty leaving the city immediately after the incident. They did not reveal the identity of the woman involved.

After Brings Plenty’s body was found, his father, Joe Brings Plenty Sr., issued a statement shared by the young actor’s uncle on Instagram.

“We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to everyone for the prayers and positive thoughts you sent for Cole,” he said. “We would also like to thank everyone who came to walk beside us as we searched for my son and provided the resources we needed to expand our search areas.”

He added, “During this incredibly difficult time, we ask for privacy as we process our grief and figure out how we move forward.”

On Saturday, Indigenous-led grassroots group Rising Hearts launched the campaign #BraidsForCole in honor of the late Mnicoujou Lakota actor.

“Cole Brings Plenty, an Indigenous relative taken too soon,” Rising Hearts wrote on Instagram. “We honor your life by braiding our hair in your memory, for your family, for all the sacred hair and braids in our communities.”

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