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Press Release

United States Attorney Issues Guidelines as Part of a New Federal Strategy For Cases Involving Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Oklahoma

Today, United States Attorney Robert J. Troester announced the issuance of Savanna’s Act guidelines for the Western District of Oklahoma.  The guidelines follow consultation with Indian nations and tribal agencies, federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement, and victim service providers.

"For years, Native Americans have been victimized by violent crime and mourned a murdered or missing loved one," said U.S. Attorney Troester.  "Addressing these issues is a top priority for my office and the Department of Justice.  Throughout the Western District of Oklahoma, we are fortunate to have strong working relationships across law enforcement and the Tribal nations in our district.  These guidelines will help us to further strengthen those relationships and coordinate efforts to better address Native Americans who are victimized by violence or have been reported missing."

In 2020, bipartisan members of the 116th United States Congress took an important step toward addressing the issue of Missing or Murdered Indigenous Peoples ("MMIP") in passing Savanna’s Act.  The Act directed United States Attorney’s Offices to develop regionally appropriate guidelines to respond to MMIP-related cases involving American Indians and Alaska Natives.  The guidelines include important provisions designed to improve law enforcement and justice protocols, enhance cooperation between agencies, and address jurisdictional issues, with a goal to establish a comprehensive federal law enforcement strategy to respond to violence against Native Americans. A first of its kind, the Guidelines specifically address: (1) interjurisdictional law enforcement cooperation and protection order enforcement, (2) best practices for searching for missing persons, (3) standards on data collection, reporting and analysis, and identification and handling of human remains, (4) coordinating law enforcement agencies responsible for updating  databases, (5) improving law enforcement agency response rates and follow-up responses to missing persons cases, and (6) access to culturally appropriate victim services. 

An important part of the overall strategy includes efforts to identify all missing or murdered Indigenous people, utilizing the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System ("NamUs").  Through the past year, the United States Attorney’s Office has worked with various state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies, and has solicited input to update and track current MMIP cases utilizing the NamUs database.  The NamUs database can be found online at:

Missing In Oklahoma 2023” Public Event, April 22, 2023

Tomorrow, April 22, 2023, from 10:00 to 3:00, a "Missing in Oklahoma 2023" event will be held at the University of Central Oklahoma ("UCO") Forensic Science Institute, located at 801 E. 2nd Street, Edmond, Oklahoma.  At the event, families and friends of missing persons may complete a missing person report for law enforcement, provide additional investigative leads, enter the missing person into the NamUs database, and provide family reference DNA samples to compare to potential remains recovered during investigations, along with other pertinent information about the mission person.  All resources are available at no cost to families; NamUs is funded through the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ).  For additional information visit the "Missing In Oklahoma 2023" event on Facebook.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has partnered with other law enforcement and private organizations to be present at the "Missing in Oklahoma 2023" event.  Participating agencies include the University of Central Oklahoma Forensic Science Institute, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the Stillwater Police Department, Edmond Police Department, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma City Police Department, the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, and the Oklahoma Indian Bar Association.


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Updated May 5, 2023