A 30-year-old Standing Rock woman who was the subject of a lengthy search when she went missing for more than two months was arrested last week in Texas on a felony warrant from North Dakota and is in jail in Bismarck in lieu of $20,000 cash bail.
Kara Lynn Mauai, listed in court documents with the last name Mauai-Kuntz, 30, was found in the Dallas area on Jan. 15. She was arrested there on a felony warrant from Morton County and transported back to North Dakota, county spokeswoman Maxine Herr said. Arrest warrant information is available to law enforcement through a national database, she said.
Mauai-Kuntz had been missing since Nov. 8. Local searches by dozens of community members were suspended after she was spotted at a bus station in northwest Dallas and again in the suburb Carrollton. Dallas police were able to find her after she made contact with family members by phone.
“We’re remaining positive because we know she’s safe,” family spokeswoman Sheridan Seaboy-McNeil said Tuesday. “That’s what the family wants to concentrate on.”
Mauai-Kuntz last June pleaded guilty in Morton County to felony and misdemeanor counts of possession of drug paraphernalia. She was placed on probation for two years. All but 44 days of a two-year prison sentence were suspended, and she was given credit for time served. A petition for revocation and warrant for her arrest were issued in November, around the time she disappeared, according to court records.
Mauai pleaded guilty to resisting a police officer in April 2019 and to theft in June 2019.
Morton County State’s Attorney Allen Koppy on Tuesday asked that Mauai-Kuntz’ bail be set at $100,000 cash because she was found in Texas and had to be brought back to North Dakota while many people had “concerns for her physical well-being.”
The family had reported on its official Facebook page "Bring Kara Home" that law enforcement had said Mauai was believed to be in danger. After authorities found her, the family's statement said only that she had been "found safe," and a statement from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said Mauai "is safe and with authorities." Neither statement said she had been arrested.
The family posted a new statement on its page Tuesday, saying it was "aware of the old charges" against Mauai-Kuntz and asking people to "Please be respectful during this time & remain positive & hopeful for Kara & her family during this healing process."
South Central District Judge Gail Hagerty set her bail at $20,000. Mauai-Kuntz told Hagerty she did not want to be represented by an attorney and did not want one to be appointed for her. A revocation of probation hearing is scheduled for Feb. 11 in Morton County.
Mauai-Kuntz also was in Burleigh County court Tuesday morning for a probation violation stemming from a 2017 guilty plea to ingesting a controlled substance. Court records show she was sentenced to nine days in the Burleigh Morton Detention Center.
She pleaded guilty in May 2017 in Bismarck Municipal Court to driving under the influence of drugs. A bench warrant was issued in June 2019 for her failure to pay fines and complete court-ordered evaluation.
Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com
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