RAPID CITY, S.D. — South Dakota’s attorney general has announced that he has filled a position to coordinate efforts from state, tribal and local law enforcement agencies, as well as nonprofit organizations, to tackle alarming rates of Indigenous people going missing or having their deaths remain unsolved.
On Wednesday, the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office announced that Allison Morrisette and Mary Beth Holzwarth had started their roles in the office on November 28. Morrisette will become the state’s first Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Coordinator while Holzwarth will fill the role of South Dakota Human Trafficking Coordinator.
The attorney general’s office has put a new focus on crimes against Native American people, recently hiring two women to address problems Vargo described as interrelated: human trafficking and missing or murdered Indigenous people.
The state’s Native American communities suffer from crisis-level rates of people going missing or killed.
Currently, 57% of people who are listed in the attorney general’s database of missing people are Native American.