MTPR

Montana Department of Justice

Attorney General Tim Fox announces plans to hire a missing persons specialist, May 21, 2019.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

More than 120 people, including members of state, tribal and local law enforcement, attended a public training in Helena Wednesday. The daylong training, organized by Montana’s Department of Justice and Montana’s U.S. attorney, highlighted situations when indigenous persons go missing.

'Hanna's Act' Missing Persons Bill Clears The State Senate

Apr 16, 2019
Sen. Diane Sands (D) - Missoula
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

HELENA—After a turbulent journey through the Montana Legislature, the bill named after Hannah Harris, who was found murdered on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in 2013, passed the Senate 37-13 Tuesday.

A sign from a Jan. 9, 2019 missing and murdered Indigenous women vigil in Missoula.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

Proponents of a proposed Montana bill meant to address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women said Monday they now believe that it has been amended to become toothless.

As originally drafted, Hanna’s Act would have directed the state Department of Justice to hire a missing persons specialist to coordinate with local, state, federal and tribal law enforcement on cases. The idea being to improve response times by smoothing over jurisdictional issues.

The suspect accused of killing one man and wounding three others, including a Montana Highway Patrol Trooper, appeared in Missoula County Justice Court Monday.

Bond for 28-year-old Johnathan Bertsch was set at $2 million.

Funding For Missing Persons Bill Remains In Limbo

Mar 12, 2019
A sign from a Jan. 9, 2019 missing and murdered Indigenous women vigil in Missoula.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

Montana lawmakers are no closer to agreeing on who should fund a missing persons bill after a hearing Tuesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

House Bill-21, or “Hanna’s Act” is named for a Northern Cheyenne woman who was murdered in 2013. The bill would create a position in the Montana Department of Justice to investigate every missing persons case across the state, in an attempt to bridge gaps in communication and jurisdiction between state, tribal and federal agencies.

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