BILLINGS- A Bureau of Indian Affairs Cold Case Team Office was opened in Billings that will be dedicated to reanalyzing and investigating cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons.
This office is the third of seven offices established under the Operation Lady Justice Task Force to investigate cold cases involving missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.
The cold case teams will be staffed with law enforcement personnel and newly appointed special agents from the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services.
According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, they and the Department of the Interior have undertaken a number of efforts to address the crisis, conducting criminal investigations, stopping illicit drug activity and solving missing and murdered cases.
Senator Steve Dains and Jon Tester released statements on the opening of the office in Billings.
“In Montana and across our nation, we’re facing a devastating crisis of missing and murdered indigenous people,” said United States Senator Steve Daines. “That’s why I’m glad to see the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services leading this charge and establishing this important new office.”
“Indigenous peoples—particularly women—are far more likely to experience violence, and human trafficking rates in Indian Country are exponentially higher than other parts of the United States,” Senator Jon Tester said. “I’m glad to see this BIA Cold Case Team office opening its doors in Billings, because far too many missing person cases in Indian Country have fallen by the wayside. We need to bring justice and closure for the families of those whose cases have gone cold while upholding the federal government’s trust and treaty responsibilities to Tribes—and that’s exactly what this office will work to accomplish.”