CBS Report: Native Americans disproportionately go missing, data show

According to CBS News, statistics show Native American communities see a disproportionate amount of violence and missing persons cases.

“More than 82% of American Indian and Alaska Native men and women reported experiences of violent victimization in their lifetime, according to the Congressional Research Service in January 2022. Similarly, Native Americans are also reported missing at higher rates than the general U.S. public, with at least 9,575 reported missing cases in 2020, according to the National Crime Information Center.” – CBS

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.

“Those federal authorities — like the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs — are responsible for investigating major crimes as a result of the nearly 400 treaties the United States government signed with Native tribes since 1787, when the federal government pledged to protect Native people, according to Stephen Pevar, author of “The Rights of Indians And Tribes” and an expert on Indian Law.

And crimes in these jurisdictions are prosecuted by the United States Attorneys throughout the country. But according to a recent Justice Department report, prosecutors in 2018 declined to prosecute almost 40% of all federal Indian Country cases – representing almost 1,000 potential federal crimes – citing “insufficient evidence” as the most likely reasoning.” – CBS Report

“This means in that one year there was no justice for the victims of the alleged 73 murders, 373 physical assaults and 279 sexual assaults in Indian Country.”

For more than a year, CBS News tracked the federal law enforcement investigation into the death of Christy Woodenthigh, a 33-year-old mother of three who lived on the Northern Cheyenne reservation in southeast Montana.

You can read more about that case and the report here.

Missing: Aubrey Dameron of Grove, Oklahoma

25-year-old Aubrey Dameron from Grove was last seen on March 9, 2019. Authorities in Delaware County, Oklahoma continued following up on leads into the missing person case.

However, Dameron’s Aunt Pamela Smith was concerned about the search when speaking with KOAM at the time. In 2019, authorities were following up on a lead at a pond. KOAM spoke with Smith after that search.

Dameron was reported two days after going missing, but Smith says authorities didn’t respond how she thought they would.

“Basically there was nothing done the first week because they believed she wasn’t a missing person due to her lifestyle,” explains Smith. “So that is hard. It’s hard to have a hundred percent trust in them following up with everything we send them. I wish that they would have taken her case seriously from the moment she was reported missing.”

—> KOAM Article: Police search pond in Delaware County in connection to missing woman from March


Christmas shopping event kicks off in Miami

MIAMI, Okla. – The 2 Hip Chicks Roadshow is hosting a Christmas shopping event with multiple local vendors today.

Officials say the first 25 shoppers through the door will receive a bag of various goodies.

Vendors have the following items for sale:

  • Handmade wooden crafts
  • Health & Beauty items
  • Sewn crafts
  • Kid toys & clothes
  • Jewelry
  • Food preserves
  • & more!

The event is hosted at the Miami Civic Center and the event lasts until 4:00 P.M.

Admission to enter costs $5 and kids under 13 are free to attend.

Watch KOAM & Fox 14 this evening to see the whole story or check back later for additional content.


News To Know: house fire fatality, Turkey Trots for two cities

COMMERCE, Okla. – According to the Quapaw Nation Marshal Service, marshals, and Commerce police responded to a house fire in Commerce where they found a fatality. The Commerce Police Department continues the process of notifying all of the family members and has not released the name at this time. To read more about this story, click here.

OTTAWA COUNTY, Okla. — Thanksgiving travelers got to experience some traffic delays approaching Miami 313 exit thanks to an overturned semi. Click here to read more about this story.

JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s become a Thanksgiving tradition for many people, now in the 11th year — the Turkey Trot in Downtown Joplin. More than 1,300 runners found it to be perfect weather for this year’s event at a brisk 49° and a light mist. If you’d like to read more about the 11th annual Turkey Trot, click here.

PITTSBURG, Kan. – And it wasn’t just Joplin doing the Turkey Trot: a couple who started a running group for all ages and pace hosted their first Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving in Pittsburg. KOAM’s Keri Worthen says the turnout was more than they expected. all participants were excited to show support and gather together on Thanksgiving. From walkers to runners, people pushing strollers and dogs leading the way — the inaugural Pittsburg Turkey Trot was the start of a tradition for many. If you’d like to read more about Pittsburg’s inaugural Turkey Trot, click here.



I-44 Will Rogers Turnpike travel delay: tractor trailer crash at Miami

OTTAWA COUNTY, Okla. — Thanksgiving morning reports about 10 a.m. stating traffic delays traveling west approaching Miami 313 exit.

KOAM Producer Zach Dobbs reports of a huge traffic delay due to a semi wreck. His video shows a tractor trailer at 312 mile marker off the north side of the roadway, overturned trailer and the cab destroyed.

Unknown circumstances and unknown injuries. We are awaiting information from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol who are on scene.

Santa Fe Wrecker are visible on scene pulling portions of the tractor trailer up to the roadway.

As of 9 a.m. Thursday OHP release Holiday stats:

It’s already been a busy Thanksgiving holiday for our troopers. From 12:00 a.m. yesterday through 9:00 a.m. Thanksgiving morning we’ve worked:”

109 Non-Injury Collisions
53 Injury Collisions
2 Fatalities
60 Motorist Assists

We will update information here on our Joplin News First news tab at KOAM News Now.




OSBI: 4 executed at Okla. marijuana grow operation, suspect located in Fla.

KINGFISHER COUNTY, Okla. – The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) update on the quadruple homicide investigation that was discovered Sunday, November 20, 2022.

Hennessey, Okla. is about 3 1/2 hours SW of Joplin.

Late Tuesday night OSBI confirms the suspect wanted in connection with a quadruple homicide in Kingfisher County is in custody.

The Miami Beach, FL Police Department arrested Wu Chen (7/18/1977) on an OSBI arrest warrant after a car tag reader flagged the vehicle he was driving. He was arrested just before 4 p.m. Central without incident and transported to the Miami-Dade County Detention Center. Chen will face Murder and Shooting with Intent to Kill charges.” — OSBI

Chen is awaiting extradition to Oklahoma.


• Sunday, November 20, 2022 at 5:45 p.m. a male suspect entered a building on a marijuana grow operation on North 2760 Road west of Hennessey, Okla.

• There were several employees inside the building at that time.

• The suspect was inside that building for a significant amount of time before the executions began.

• Three men and one woman – all Chinese Nationals – were executed.

• An additional victim – also a Chinese National – was wounded and air flighted to a OK City metro hospital.

• Investigation thus far, this does not appear to be a random incident.

Assisting the OSBI with this investigation were the U.S. Marshals Western District Task Force, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (OBNDD), Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP), Oklahoma State Fire Marshal’s Office, Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA), Kingfisher County Sheriff’s Office, Hennessey Police Department and the Miami Beach, FL Police Department. The collaboration between agencies was critical in taking a violent murder suspect into custody.

This is a breaking news story, stay with Joplin News First on KOAM News Now as we continue to follow new information.



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Mass shooting drill helps train local emergency personnel

MIAMI, Okla. – Local health institutes and Miami Public Schools teamed up today to put on a large-scale mock shooting exercise.

Though it was only a drill, local law enforcement officers treated the situation as if it was real.

“We always can do a better job no matter how well it goes,” said Sergeant Sean McDonald. “One of the things we can do to better prepare to help our community is to engage in training like this so that we know how to respond most efficiently.”

Officials say the drill was designed to challenge local resources and personnel with numerous mock injuries and causalities.

Watch KOAM & Fox 14 Evening news to see the full story.


News To Know: police pursuit ends in crash, armadillo migration

COMMERCE, Okla. — Oklahoma Highway Patrol reports that Saturday evening, November 19, 2022, just after 8 p.m. a police pursuit ended as the officer crashed north of Commerce, Oklahoma. The crash occurred on County Road S 560 near County Road E 30 in Ottawa County, Oklahoma. Vernon Moyer, 39, of Commerce was operating a 2018 Dodge Charger police cruiser. He was driving north on County Road s 560 where they say the brakes failed in the police car. The car then left the road and went into a ditch. Moyer is currently in the hospital with critical injuries. You can read more about this crash by clicking here.

MCDONALD COUNTY, Mo. – One man is dead following a two-vehicle crash about 3 p.m. Sunday, November 20th on Route E, 7 miles northeast of Bella Vista, Arkansas in McDonald County, Missouri. Michelle McKeever, 57, of Seligman, was operating the second vehicle, a 2018 Kia Soul. She was transported to Washington Regional Medical Center in NW Arkansas with serious injuries. The passenger, Thomas McKeever, 56, also of Seligman, was pronounced deceased at the scene. Click here to read more about this story.

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Tower Foundation awarded a grant to a Riverton organization to support mental health services. That’s according to Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt. The Spring River Mental Health and Wellness Center was awarded $10,000 to assist with the transition to and/or implementation of requirements for the new designation of being a certified community behavioral health clinic (CCBHC). If you would like to read more about this grant, click here.

MISSOURI – The armadillo population in Missouri is growing, and a lot of travelers will see them along the roadside.  Armadillos have a bad reputation for digging in gardens — pastures — and yards searching for bugs to eat. Experts theorize that climate change is making armadillos migrate north from their usual habitat of desert-like environments.


Police officer critical, crashed during pursuit

COMMERCE, Okla.Oklahoma Highway Patrol report that Saturday evening, November 19, 2022 just after 8 p.m. a police pursuit ended as the officer crashed north of Commerce, Okla.

Crash occurred on County Road S 560 near County Road E 30 in Ottawa County, Okla.


Vernon Moyer, 39, of Commerce was operating a 2018 Dodge Charger police cruiser. The Cause of Collision is described as, “Pursuit of fleeing vehicle, high rate of speed.”

Quapaw Nation EMS transported Moyer to a Joplin, Mo. hospital suffering critical injuries.

[Charger] was traveling north on County Road S 560 in pursuit of a vehicle he initiated a traffic stop with. Driver stated the brakes failed in his vehicle.  [Charger] departed the road to the right and crashed into a ditch.”  — Tpr Coleman Younger, OHP

Conditions during the crash event are listed as clear skies and dry roadway.

| MORE JOPLIN NEWS FIRST >> Tow truck driver killed in Joplin crash is laid to rest

Assisting agencies are listed in the preliminary report.

This is a breaking news story, stay with Joplin News First on KOAM News Now as we continue to learn more. Scroll below and sign up for our JLNews email alerts so you don’t miss a story or update.




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Local town opens pop-up museum for the holidays

PRYOR, Okla. – One of the highest freestanding statues in the United States, the 110-foot-tall Cross on the Prairie is located halfway between Pryor and Adair on US Highway 69 (Jefferson Highway).

The cross was built by Clay and Melissa Hibbard and in 2022 they decided to open The Nativity Museum.

The museum is located at 9 S. Adair Street in Pryor and is open Thursday through Saturday until January 1, 2023.

Hours for the museum are:

  • Thursday – Friday 4-8 p.m
  • Saturday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas

“This 2022 pop-up museum is a trial run,” said Missy Hibbard. “Because of space limitations, we have less than half of our collection on display. We have been collecting for almost 50 years. The entire collection contains more than 500 sets and was gathered from more than 40 countries worldwide. Each set in the display has a label that provides information about the set and its origin.”

Admission to this museum is donation-based.

Click here for more information.


Kansas City Southern Holiday Express returns after 2 year break

JOPLIN METRO AREA — The Kansas City Southern Holiday Express returns to the region! After a two-year hiatus due to health concerns the train formerly known as the “Santa Express” will make a stop in Pittsburg, Kan.

  • WHAT: KCS Holiday Express
  • WHERE: Pittsburg, Kan., Elm & Monroe
  • WHEN: Dec. 10, 4:00 p.m.
  • WHO: Santa and all his Reindeer!
  • WHY: Raise money for the Salvation Army in each area.
  • WHAT AGAIN?: Visitors can board the train, meet Santa and his Elves and tour the inside of three cars of the festive six-car train.

After leaving Pittsburg the train travels north and will be stationed at home in Kansas City for viewing at the KC Union Station which is a destination for many to visit at Christmas.

During the visit to Pittsburg visitors can board the train, meet Santa and his Elves and tour the inside of three cars of the festive, six-car holiday train with intricate displays inside and out. The train will visit children and families in 20 communities across 8 states!

The Salvation Army in each town will benefit. Over 21 years, the charitable component of the KCS Holiday Express project has raised well over $2.6 million. Anyone interested in making a tax-deductible contribution to the 2022 KCS Holiday Express fundraising effort may donate here.

KCS Employees donate generously to kick off the campaign.


The KCS Holiday Express was built on the tradition of the Santa Train, which ran on a segment of the network bought by KCS in 1997. In 2000, a group of warm-hearted employees noticed that the Santa Train was the only Christmas some kids had, and that some kids did not have essential items like coats, hats and gloves, so they committed to elevating the project. In 2001, volunteers transformed a retired freight train to the KCS Holiday Express experience that thousands of people enjoyed for more than 20 years!

Stay with Joplin News First as we continue to cover Christmas events for you and your family to enjoy! Scroll below and sign up for our JLNews email list so you don’t miss an article.




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