MTPR

Montana Department of Justice

Montana hired two full-time agents to investigate human trafficking cases throughout the state. Montana has had law enforcement agents investigating human trafficking cases full-time on the local, and up and until recently, federal level. But this is the first time the state has employed full-time agents to look at human trafficking.


The group tasked with addressing Montana's backlog of untested rape kits is planning a series of statewide trainings and revamping the sexual assault investigation training for police officers in the state.

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Missoula police have released the names of two officers involved in a fatal shooting earlier this month.

Sgt. Travis Welsh said Friday officers Chris Proper and Eric Weber remain on paid administrative leave while the Sept. 2 shooting death of 35-year-old Steven Gill is investigated.

The Sexual Assault Evidence Task Force was established by Montana Attorney General Tim Fox in November 2015 to review how the evidence kits are handled around the state and how many of them have gone untested.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

The Montana Department of Justice is rolling out a new statewide system for tracking sexual assault evidence kits. The creation of the online platform follows a report that more than 1,000 evidence kits — some decades old — were sitting untested in law enforcement evidence lockers and refrigerators.

Aaron Bolton

The director of a private therapeutic treatment center for kids in northwestern Montana says he plans to appeal the state’s suspension of his license to operate.

Tuesday, state health officials removed more than two dozen kids from the Ranch for Kids in Rexford with a court order, citing “egregious, chronic, and persistent child abuse.”

7 p.m.:  This story has been updated with quotes from a DPHHS official.

The Montana State Health Department has removed 27 children from a youth treatment facility in northwest Montana called the Ranch for Kids, citing, “serious allegations of egregious, chronic, and persistent child abuse and neglect."

The Lincoln County District Court ordered the removal of the children from the ranch Tuesday, pending a full investigation.

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
Montana State 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.

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