News To Know: body discovered, shooting suspect

BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. — Just before 3 p.m. on Monday, November 28, authorities respond to reports of a shooting in Baxter Springs in the 2400 block of Lincoln. Chief Brian Henderson says there is no threat to the public, but an isolated incident within a residence. When officers arrived, they began life-saving measures. 2 people succumbed to their injuries. The man in custody is identified as Kyle Butts, 41, of Independence MO.  He is being held in the Cherokee County Jail pending formal charges by the Cherokee County Attorney’s Office. If you are interested, click here for more information.

EL DORADO SPRINGS, Mo. — On Sunday at just after 2:00 in the afternoon, El Dorado Springs police respond to the 100 block of North Jackson street concerning a deceased person in the nearby creek bed. The deceased has been identified as 30-year-old Tory Richards of El Dorado Springs. The cedar county coroner’s office is assisting the investigation although authoirites say there is no apparent sign of foul play. Next of kin have been notified. Click here if you would like to read more about this story.

NORTHEAST OKLAHOMA — According to CBS News, statistics show Native American communities see a disproportionate amount of violence and missing persons cases. When a Native American is murdered or disappears on one of the 324 federally recognized reservations across the United States, the majority of these cases fall within federal jurisdiction. CBS reports that in recent years, families of missing and murdered Indigenous people have pushed federal authorities and legislators to address the crisis. Grassroots advocates join those families in the fight. If you would like to read more about this report, click here.

NORTHEAST OKLAHOMA — Among the missing Native Americans, authorities are still searching for Grove Oklahoma native Aubrey Dameron. She was 25-years-old at the time when she went missing in March of 2019. If you have any information about the location of Aubrey Dameron you are urged to contact the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, the OSBI, or the Cherokee Nation martial service.

Oklahoma seeks coordination on Indigenous peoples cold cases

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday signed into law a bill intended to coordinate state and federal law enforcement efforts when investigating missing or murdered Indigenous people.

The law requires the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to coordinate with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice to obtain federal funding and coordinate their efforts to gather information and data about missing and murdered indigenous people in Oklahoma.

The OSBI would create an Office of Liaison to develop protocols for law enforcement response to reports of missing or slain Native Americans and to assist victims’ families in understanding the legal processes.

“Far too often when a Native (American) goes missing or is found murdered their families have to navigate a complex checkerboard of jurisdiction,” Stitt said. “This bill will ensure a more coordinated response” between state and federal agencies.

Known as Ida’s law, it is named for 29-year-old Ida Beard of El Reno, a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, who disappeared in 2015 and has never been found.

Beard’s cousin, LaRenda Morgan, said the law leaves her with a sense of gratitude.

“I’m just very, very grateful, thankful,” Morgan said. “Thank you so much, all of you, for showing compassion and showing that you care about Indian Country.”

In 2019, then U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced a nationwide plan to address missing and slain Native American women. Missing Native American men and boys were added to the plan in 2020.

The project includes $1.5 million to hire specialized coordinators in 11 U.S. attorney’s offices across the U.S. with significant Indian Country caseloads, which include Oklahoma. The coordinators are to develop protocols for a better law enforcement response to missing persons cases.

U.S. attorneys and tribal leaders in Oklahoma and Montana last year announced they will participate in pilot projects to better coordinate investigative efforts surrounding cases of missing or murdered Indigenous peoples.

An Associated Press investigation in 2018 found that nobody knows precisely how many cases of missing and murdered Native American women happen nationwide because many go unreported, others aren’t well documented and no government database specifically tracks them.