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First 'Missing In New Mexico Day' to connect relatives seeking loved ones to law enforcement resources

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Shelby Kleinhans
/
Source NM

October 22 marks the first “Missing In New Mexico Day,” created by the legislature to bring families of missing Indigenous persons together with law enforcement agencies to offer services and raise awareness. The event will take place at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque hosted by the Department of Public Safety.

Native American women in New Mexico have the highest rate of homicide among all racial and ethinic groups according to the taskforce for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives that was established in 2019.

Secretary of the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department Lynn Trujillo says the event will help share resources and maintain visibility on this issue.

"It also helps with educating people who are not familiar with the crisis that's happening here in New Mexico, but across the nation, with missing indigenous people," she said.

In February, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bills 12 and 13, which established a new position in the Attorney General’s office dedicated to missing persons and designating “Missing In New Mexico Day.”

Trujillo encouraged families of missing persons to attend, as well as those who want to help.

"Bring updated photos on dental records, medical records, any information that would be helpful in filing the report or updating", said Trujillo. "I really want to encourage folks to come, it's a time to connect with other people."

There are currently 192 missing individuals on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's list of Native Americans verified as missing throughout New Mexico and the Navajo Nation.

For those interested in learning and finding out more information on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives, you can go to the New Mexico Indian Affairs website. The taskforce for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives holds meetings on a regular basis that are open to the public.

Jeanette DeDios is from the Jicarilla Apache and Diné Nations and grew up in Albuquerque, NM. She recently graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2022 where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism, English and Film. She’s currently a part of the Local News Fund Fellowship where she will be working with KUNM-FM and NMPBS during her 9-month fellowship where she will gain hands-on newsroom experience. Jeanette can be contacted at jeanettededios@kunm.org or via Twitter @JeanetteDeDios.
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