Macedonian activist found dead near former Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp

The body of a 35-year-old Glendale man missing since November was found Sunday in a North Dakota river.

Damjan Nedelkovski’s body was discovered by a local fisherman floating along the shoreline of the Cannonball River near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation around 11:30 a.m. An autopsy of his body did not show any trauma to suspect foul play and his cause of death is still unknown, according to the Morton County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said in a press conference Monday that it’s unknown how long Nedelkovski’s body had been in the river but said it couldn’t have been long as he was found wearing jeans, a T-shirt and tennis shoes.

“It’s just my thoughts about dealing with this [kind of case] in the past … the body didn’t have the decomposition to be in the water for a five-month period of time,” he said.

Kirchmeier said the Glendale resident was last in contact with his friends and family sometime around Oct. 26 before disappearing — his stepbrother filed a missing person report with the Glendale Police Department on Nov. 16.

While Nedelkovski lived in Glendale, he was originally from the Republic of Macedonia and an ID issued by the country was found on his person, according to the sheriff.

Nedelkovski had rented a car that day in Glendale and drove from California to the upper Midwest of the United States, Kirchmeier said.

He said Nedelkovski was driving from Glendale to join the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. He was known to be at protest camps in the area before his death and his body was found near a former camp site.

“He was stopped on Oct. 28 in South Dakota and was issued a speeding ticket,” Kirchmeier said. “[According to South Dakota police] he was travelling very lightly, was by himself and was heading to the protest camp.”

The sheriff said the department is currently working out a timeline of where and when Nedelkovski was between when he left Glendale and when he was found in the river.

He said a cousin may have spotted him in a protest video dated Feb. 2, but couldn’t say for sure if it was him.

“There are a lot of circumstances that we’re trying to figure out,” he said. “We’re trying to narrow down that time frame.”