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Plans For A Wind River Reservation Specific Amber Alert Will Resume After Pandemic-Induced Delay

Division of Criminal Investigation

Due to a large number of missing and murdered Indigenous people, efforts have been made to install a Wind River Indian Reservation specific Amber Alert system. That's the mechanism the country uses to inform the public of possibly abducted children. It's named after Amber Hagerman, who was abducted and killed as a nine-year-old 25 years ago in Texas. But when the COVID-19 pandemic plans on the reservation had to be put on hold.

Crystal McGuire, Wyoming's Amber Alert Coordinator, said that she visited Wind River right before that.

"We have been working with the reservation for two years," said McGuire. "March of 2020, we went in and did full-fledged training with the Department of Justice. Talked to them about Amber Alerts and how they worked and told them what we could do to help them."

McGuire said that her office is now ready to resume that assistance, since all the different requirements for issuing Amber Alerts need to be explained.

"For an Amber Alert to be activated the child must be believed to be abducted, it has to be investigated by law enforcement, and there has to be reason to be believed to be in imminent danger and we have to have enough so we can give the public something to look for," said McGuire.

When exactly a new system will be reinstated on the reservation has not been decided, but McGuire said she looks forward to working with both tribes.

Taylar Dawn Stagner is a central Wyoming rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has degrees in American Studies, a discipline that interrogates the history and culture of America. She was a Native American Journalist Association Fellow in 2019, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her Modern West podcast episode about drag queens in rural spaces in 2021. Stagner is Arapaho and Shoshone.
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