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Father of missing Sidney, Montana, woman hopeful for her return: 'I just want her home'

Katelynn Berry, the daughter of Grand Forks County Assistant State's Attorney Carmell Mattison, has been missing for two weeks, leaving her phone, wallet and winter jacket in her apartment. These abandoned belongings later found by police prompted them to start a criminal investigation into her disappearance.

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Hank Berry stands on his daughter Katelynn's doorstep in Sidney, Montana, on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022 — four days after he reported her missing. Police have started a criminal investigation into her disappearance after finding her phone, winter coat and wallet in her apartment.
Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service
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SIDNEY, Mont. — On Dec. 21, Hank Berry pulled up at an apartment he built in Sidney, Montana, to drop off McDonald’s for his 26-year-old daughter Katelynn. He regularly made such deliveries to keep his daughter from stepping out into the bitter eastern Montana cold.

When he got to the door to leave, he paused and told Katelynn to give him “a big squeeze,” knowing it would likely be a few days before he would hug her again.

That was the last time Hank saw his daughter.

Katelynn Berry has been missing for two weeks, leaving her phone, wallet and winter jacket in her apartment. These abandoned belongings later found by police prompted them to start a criminal investigation into her disappearance.

“It’s been devastating because we are very close,” her father said, choking back tears. “She confides in me with a lot of things, and I just want her home.”

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Berry, who's also the daughter of Grand Forks County Assistant State's Attorney Carmell Mattison, spent her middle school years in Grand Forks, but has mostly lived in Sidney, Hank said.

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Katelynn Berry in her father's race car.
Special to The Forum

Authorities conducted on-the-ground and air searches around the areas that are within walking distance of Katelynn’s apartment in Sidney, an Oil Patch town of 6,300 that sits about 10 miles west of the North Dakota border. Katelynn didn’t drive a vehicle.

The apartment, connected to Hank’s workshop, lies only a few blocks from the Town Pump, an expansive gas station and truck stop where Katelynn occasionally walked to buy snacks.

Authorities retrieved video surveillance from the Town Pump, along with businesses in the center of town, about two miles from her apartment. Investigators have not disclosed what that video revealed, if anything.

Kari Kummer, an assistant manager at the truck stop, said Katelynn is a regular customer though she didn’t know much about her. With Katelynn’s photo and biographical information now hanging on missing person flyers taped to every entrance of the truck stop, Kummer said she knows Sidney is the kind of place where people will work to find her and comfort those in agony over her disappearance.

“When somebody’s missing, the town comes together to help quite well,” Kummer said. “We have a close community, so that’s beneficial in these types of situations.”

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Authorities say Katelynn Berry, a 26-year-old resident of Sidney, Mont., could have gone missing during a trip to the Town Pump, a nearby truck stop she frequently visited.
Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service

Richland County Sheriff John Dynneson said his entire office is working to find Katelynn, and there have been no other disappearances in the area recently. Law enforcement is asking residents in the area to search their own properties for anything that could be connected to her disappearance, which would give authorities some idea where to search since they have no leads on her whereabouts.

Authorities also have no suspects in connection to her disappearance.

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Katelynn mostly stayed at home, drawing and listening to music, but she had big dreams of opening a CBD shop in town, her father said. The legal hemp-derived product helped Katelynn cope with mental health issues that she has battled throughout her adult life, Hank said. Lately, Katelynn had also struggled with drug addiction, her father noted.

She had friends in town, Hank said, but she was unemployed and spent the majority of time in her apartment.

Hank, 64, remembers going to concerts with his daughter in North Dakota. At a KISS show in Grand Forks, Hank bought her a sweatshirt bearing the iconic band’s name. She was likely wearing it when she disappeared, he said.

In his gut, Hank believes Katelynn hasn’t left the immediate area and someone in town knows where she is.

He hasn’t given up hope that Katelynn is out of harm’s way.

“But, you know, in reality, every day that goes by it's a little grimmer,” he said.

If you have information relevant to Katelynn’s disappearance, call the Richland County Sheriff's Office in Montana at 406-433-2919, or the Sidney Police Department at 406-433-2210.

Katelynn
Katelynn Berry.
Special to Forum News Service

Michelle (she/her, English speaker) is a Bismarck-based journalist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and Report for America, a national service organization that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered topics and communities.
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