New website aims to help solve Missing/Murdered Indigenous Persons cases

Ashley HeavyRunner Loring
Posted at 11:06 AM, Jan 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-10 13:52:31-05

The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs has launched a new website to help cases involving missing and murdered indigenous people.

Officials launched the website in December 2021 to connect people to the proper authorities who might have information about cases involving missing and murdered indigenous people.

The website states: "American Indian and Alaska Native people are at a disproportionate risk of experiencing violence, murder, or going missing and make up a significant portion of the missing and murdered cases. The Missing and Murdered Unit within the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services (BIA-OJS) investigates missing and murdered cases in pursuit of justice for those impacted by violence."

People can share information to help investigators solve cases committed in Indian Country through the site.

More information from the Missing & Murdered Unit website:

  • The BIA, Office of Justice Services established the Missing and Murdered Unit to focus on analyzing and solving missing and murdered cases involving American Indians and Alaska Natives. Investigators and other specialists work to leverage tribal, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, and other stakeholders to enhance the criminal justice system and address the legitimate concerns of AI/AN communities, regarding missing and murdered people – specifically missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.
  • The Missing and Murdered Unit is unique in OJS in that it has the ability to marshal law enforcement resources across the Office of Justice Services and was given an expanded ability to collaborate efforts with other agencies, such as enhancing the DOJ’s National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), and developing strategic partnerships with additional stakeholders such as the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Units (BAU’s), the FBI Forensic Laboratory, the US Marshals Missing Child Unit (MCU) and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
  • In addition to reviewing unsolved cases, the MMU works with Tribal, BIA and FBI Investigators on active missing and murdered investigations. BIA law enforcement have numerous open cases agents are investigating. The MMU handles acute cases, which are cases that are considered either an endangered missing person, have been missing for a long term, or are an unsolved homicide. The BIA seeks public assistance and information on these cases involving missing or murdered victims in Indian Country.

“The Missing and Murdered Indigenous peoples crisis has plagued Indian Country for too long, with cases often going unsolved and unaddressed,” said Bryan Newland, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, in a news release. “This new website represents a new tool in the effort to keep communities safe and provide closure for families.”