BHC Attorney’s Office forms Missing / Murdered persons task force

Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Big Horn County Attorney’s office has formed a Big Horn County Missing/ Murdered Persons Investigation and Prosecution Task Force. The county attorney’s office will take direct supervision of all investigations of suspicious deaths or suspected homicides under state jurisdiction, Big Horn County Attorney Jay Harris said in a press release Tuesday.

“It may be unprecedented in Big Horn County for the county attorney to take such an active role, but our community finds itself in unprecedented times,” read the press release.

The establishment of a Missing and Murdered Persons Task Force, Harris wrote, will “guarantee best efforts are always made to provide closure to families.”

He added the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office is in support of these efforts and the Board of Commissioners is looking to enact a resolution declaring support for such a task force.

The press release went on to read, “tragic and unnecessary deaths, along with reports of missing persons, are major alarm signals to a community in crisis.”

Harris cites meth amphetamine use and alcohol abuse as known contributors to the crisis. Adding, “the rise in suspected and known instances of human trafficking in and near Indian country are well publicized and must remain firmly in our daily thoughts and calculations.”

“Protecting the safety and restorative ability of our community in the face of such challenges places great demands on local criminal justice resources, at times beyond what can be addressed effectively unless we in elected and appointed office ensure best efforts are made through enhanced intergovernmental coordination and cooperation,” he wrote

Harris continued by citing recent public demonstration on the steps of the Big Horn County Courthouse in response to the investigation of Kaysera Stops Pretty Places death.

“(It) should be viewed as a rebuke of any status quo that does not fully accept the call to action that our Community in crisis presents,” Harris wrote. “The Missing and Murdered Persons Task Force is being established to serve as a rebuke, as well, of any such status quo.”

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