TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation announced it has hired a criminal investigator to solely work on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) cases.
The tribe selected investigator Perry Proctor, who spent the past year at the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service assigned to MMIP cases, is a former OSBI cold-case detective, Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs investigator and has worked in law enforcement since 1976.
Cherokee Nation Marshals have criminal jurisdiction over 7,000 square miles of the Cherokee Nation Reservation after the U.S. Supreme Court McGirt and subsequent Hogner decisions, which has increased the tribe’s number of MMIP cases.
“Our workload on Missing and Murdered Indigenous People has increased enough that we hired a special investigator to help handle these cases,” said Cherokee Nation Marshal Shannon Buhl. “As McGirt was going through the courts, we looked to find someone who had more knowledge in missing and murdered cases or cases investigated a long time ago, and we were lucky enough, we found someone.”
Proctor, a tribal citizen, says he’s been able to locate some of the missing and is still working to locate others.
“We’re here for the victims and victims’ families who need someone to turn to,” Proctor said. “I certainly don’t work alone—there are other investigators who help me—but we do need someone coordinating, and moving things along to see if we can find resolution for some of our missing tribal citizens.”
Oklahoma Congressman Markwayne Mullin, Vice-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus, also cosponsored a resolution marking May 5 National Awareness Day for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, to continue his commitment to addressing this crisis and raising awareness.
“The silent crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women is wreaking havoc on our families and our communities,” Mullin said. “As a member of Cherokee Nation, I am committed to doing all I can in Congress to work towards a solution. Our priority must be to ensure the safety and well-being of native women and children, and for all parties to work together to end this violence. Thank you to my colleagues for joining me in this effort and committing to building safer communities for native women in Indian Country.”
Anyone with information or tips on any MMIP cases involving Cherokee Nation citizens or the Cherokee Nation Reservation, please call the Marshal Service at (918) 207-3800.
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