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Katelyn Berry: The case of a missing young woman from Sidney, Montana

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The case of a missing young woman from Sidney, Montana, has come to a close with a tragic outcome. First suspected missing on December 21, 2021, Katelyn Berry was the focus of massive police and volunteer search that stretched out over a period of weeks. This search ended on January 24, 2022, when Hank Berry confirmed that the female human remains discovered roughly a week prior were, indeed, those of his daughter Katelyn.

A Sidney native, Katelyn Berry, was born on February 1, 1995. When she went to daycare as a little girl, caregivers gave her the nickname “Little Commander” about her headstrong attitude. This name would stick with her throughout her life.

Katelyn Berry applied this same fiery determination to her family life. Steadfastly loyal to her siblings, she would never allow anyone to speak ill of them. She also valued her role as an aunt and never passed up an opportunity to run and play with her two nephews. Katelyn Berry loved sharing her latest books, her passion for loud music, and her interest in traveling with her family whenever she could.

Katelyn Berry never did a thing by half-measures. She didn’t just attend Freedom Church in nearby Grand Forks; she held membership in multiple weekday groups and hosted fundraisers to support causes she believed in. In the words of Katelyn’s sister Kristen Barbour, “She was always down for an adventure – Bollywood dancing, boxing class, acrobatic yoga class, an open mic night, Orchid flower light show, a glow in the dark 5K race, church fundraisers. She was down for it all!”

These facts make Katelyn Berry’s disappearance and the subsequent discovery of her remains all the more heartbreaking and complicated. Hank Berry reported his daughter missing on December 31, 2021. He had last seen her roughly ten days earlier when he brought her lunch in her apartment.

Although Katelyn Berry wasn’t extremely unusual to fall out of contact with her family for a day or two, the family became particularly concerned when she failed to respond to phone messages and texts about Christmas. By the morning of New Year’s Eve, Hank Berry decided to contact the authorities to report his daughter missing; Police completed a prompt search of the apartment, discovering her cell phone, ID card, jacket, and other items that she would have been unlikely to leave behind intentionally.

The search for Katelyn Berry went on for nearly three weeks while family and friends raised awareness about her disappearance relentlessly through social media. The “Bring Katelyn Berry Home” Facebook group shared ongoing search updates as well as various newscasts and articles that relate to the case.

Confirming the death of his daughter in a conversation with Sydney Harold, Hank Berry said that it is still “just kind of hard to wrap our heads around” what exactly happened to Katelyn Berry. The Montana Medical Examiner’s Office declared Ms. Berry’s death accidental with an official cause of hypothermia. The remains of Katelyn Berry were found just a short distance away from her Sidney apartment.

In the wake of these tragic revelations, roughly 200 people gathered for a fundraiser to support the Berry family, helping to offset the considerable cost of their extensive search and rescue efforts. In addition to her father and siblings, Katelyn Berry is survived by her mother, Carmell Mattison, a prosecuting public attorney in Grand Forks County.

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