US lawmakers examine Native women’s deaths, disappearances

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The sister of a missing Blackfeet woman in Montana is expressing frustration over police’s initial response to her loved one’s disappearance, saying in testimony prepared for U.S. senators Wednesday that dysfunctional investigations into missing persons cases have troubled numerous Native American families.

The testimony from Kimberly Loring is part of a U.S. Senate committee hearing held in Washington, D.C., to examine concerns about investigations into the deaths and disappearance of Native American women. Her sister Ashley HeavyRunner Loring vanished in June 2017 at age 20.

The Associated Press this year found that Native Americans and Alaska Natives, who comprise less than a percentage point of the U.S. population, made up 1.8 percent of ongoing missing cases in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database.

The FBI’s assistant director of criminal investigations cited the figure Wednesday in prepared testimony.

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