12.12.18

Daines to BIA: Time for Answers for Loring Heavyrunner Family

Daines Demands Explanations on Indian Country’s Missing and Murdered

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today in a U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) hearing on Indian Country’s missing and murdered demanded answers from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) on the epidemic of missing and murdered persons in Indian country. The hearing follows Daines’ request to the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Committee to hold the hearing. Daines also successfully secured Kimberly Loring HeavyRunner, the sister of missing Ashley Loring Heavyrunner of the Blackfeet Tribe, as a witness at today’s hearing.

At the hearing, Kimberly told her sister’s tragic story and the complete disregard and lack of answers for Ashley’s case they have received from law enforcement saying: “I am here today to stress to you that I believe that the law enforcement did not take Ashley’s case seriously.”

 

heavy runner

Click HERE to watch

Click HERE to download

 

In the hearing, Daines questioned Deputy Associate Director of the BIA, for not getting any answers for the Loring-Heavyrunner family. Daines doubled down on his concern and questioned why it took two months from the day Ashley went missing for the investigation to begin.

“Does it seem like protocol is being followed when there was a two-month lag time between when Ashley went missing and when the case began as a missing person," Daines asked. 

daines heavyrunner hearing

Click HERE to watch

Click HERE to download

“Does it seem like protocol is being followed when there was a two-month lag time between when Ashley went missing and when the case began as a missing person,” Daines asked.

Yesterday, Daines met with Kimberly prior to the hearing. Today, he met with her following the hearing where they discussed next step

daines heavy runner

In September, Daines sent a letter to the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Committee urging them to hold a hearing on Indian Country’s missing and murdered.  

Background:

Many incidences of missing persons in Indian country go unreported and even when they are reported, Indian country law enforcement carry a high volume of cold cases that go unresolved.

On October 3, 2018 the Senate passed comprehensive opioids legislation which included Sen. Daines’ Mitigating METH Act. That same day, Daines met with the nominee to head ONDCP and highlighted the devastating impacts methamphetamine and opioids have on Montana tribes and their law enforcement agencies.

On April 26, 2018, the Senate passed Daines’ bill to designate May 5th as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. 

On April 19, 2018, Daines led a bipartisan group of senators in sending a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions in response to a Department of Justice Inspector General report, urging the department of Justice to uphold its responsibilities to Indian tribes and implement the recommendations outlined in that report as quickly as possible. 

On March 23, 2018, Daines’ bill to help relocate children who go missing through AMBER Alert systems became law.  

On February 16, 2018, Daines sponsored and supported the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs’ passage of the Tribal Law and Order Reauthorization and Amendments Act, which included Daines’ bipartisan legislation to promote tribes’ access to national criminal databases. 

On January 1, 2018, Daines introduced bipartisan legislation, the Mitigating the Methamphetamine Epidemic and Promoting Tribal Health Act, or the Mitigating METH Act, to combat methamphetamine use across Montana and strengthen Indian tribes’ ability to fight this epidemic.

On December 6, 2017, Daines’ bipartisan legislation, the Securing Urgent Resources Vital to Indian Victim Empowerment (SURVIVE) Act, passed the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. This bill strengthens services for victims of crime in Indian country.  

On May 5, 2017, Daines joined with the family of Hanna Harris to mark the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls as designated by his Senate resolution.

On May 5, 2017, Daines introduced and secured U.S. Senate unanimous passage of a resolution recognizing May 5th as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. The resolution honors the memory of Hanna Harris, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe who was murdered in July 2013.

In the Spring of 2017, Daines spoke at the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center briefing. The organization is based out of Billings, Montana.

 

###