Amid Violence Against Native Women, 7 States Set Up Task Forces to Help

July 23, 2019 AT 8:15 AM

By Melodie Edwards

It's been seven years since passing boaters found Dawn Day's body floating in a lake on the high plains of Wyoming. Sitting next to each other on the couch, a warm breeze coming in through the screen door, her dad Gregory Day and her aunt Madeleine Day miss Dawn's laughter.

"She was crazy," Madeleine Day says.

"Crazy in a good way, huh?" Gregory Day says. "Make you laugh."

"That's what she did. She always wanted everybody to be happy," agrees Madeleine Day. And she says it was trying to make people happy that kept Dawn from leaving an abusive boyfriend.

"That puppy dog syndrome, like, I can fix you," Madeleine Day says. "You can't. How you going to fix somebody that strangles you, throws you out of a car, that throws you in a fire? That's not love. You can't fix him."

The autopsy called the cause of Dawn Day's death undetermined. But Gregory and Madeleine Day say they know what killed her and it wasn't drowning.

"There was no water in her lungs, her lips weren't blue," Gregory says. "She was just beaten to death."

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