Montana’s new missing persons specialist updating database

November 14, 2019 GMT

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana’s new missing persons specialist is updating the state’s Missing Persons Clearinghouse by identifying cases where people have been located and adding older cases that weren’t listed.

Misty LaPlant’s job was created by the legislature after criticism that state, federal and tribal authorities were slow to respond or coordinate efforts in cases of missing Native Americans.

At the time, 56 of the 179 missing persons in the database, or 30%, were Native Americans. Native Americans make up 7% of the state’s population.

With LaPlant’s updates, 35 of the 148 people listed as missing are Native Americans, or 24%.

LaPlant tells Lee Newspapers of Montana she was able to clear 10 cases by contacting the state Child and Family Services Division and identifying runaway juveniles who had since been found.