Savanna's Act: Bill Looks to Curb Cases of Missing Murdered Native American Women

October 06, 2017 05:35 PM

In the wake of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind's disappearance and murder, there has been an effort to curb cases of murdered and missing Native women.

ABC-affiliate WDAY reports North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (DFL) introduced "Savanna's Act" in the Senate Thursday.

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RELATED: Suspects in Savanna Greywind Death Plead Not Guilty

In 2016, North Dakota had 125 reported cases of missing Native women, according to the National Crime Information Center.

Heitkamp says numbers are likely much higher, cases are often underreported because families don't believe anything will be done.

RELATED: Greywind Family Retains Gloria Allred

Heitkamp said Thursday, "Thousands of indigenous women are murdered or missing each year. Many are ignored or forgotten."

She says this bill will give tribes better access to federal crime databases, create protocols for responding to cases of missing and murdered Native Americans, and require an annual report to Congress about these cases.

Heitkamp says Native women are murdered at ten times the national average.

RELATED: Suspects Offer Differing Accounts in Greywind Disappearance, Death

"When someone can just sit down with a some friends on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and comes up with 25 names that collectively, they know have gone missing or were murdered, that's just not acceptable," Heitkamp said.

Three other Democrats have signed on to the bill as co-sponsors.

RELATED: Report: DNA Confirms Baby is Greywind's

Two people are charged in Cass County court for Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind's murder.

Valley News in Fargo reported Thursday court documents show suspect Brooke Crews is heading to Jamestown, North Dakota, to undergo a mental health evaluation. It is still uncertain when that will happen.

Crews and William Hoehn both entered not guilty pleas. Crews is scheduled to appear in court in January, and Hoehn will slated for a December court appearance. 

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