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Slain girl's father sues Navajos over lack of alert system

Devin Neeley
January 18, 2017 06:37 PM

SHIPROCK — The father of a Navajo girl killed over the summer has filed a lawsuit alleging that Navajo Nation officials are at fault for his daughter’s death.

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In a lawsuit filed by Gary Mike against the Navajo Nation, Navajo Division of Public Safety, Department of Law Enforcement, and Ivan Tsosie in Shiprock District Court, Mike said that a working Amber Alert system would have saved the life of 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike.

The suit filed Dec. 7 alleges, "The horrifying delay in issuance of the [Amber] Alert directly caused the death of Ashlynne Mike."

Ashlynne Mike was abducted from the San Juan Chapter area on the afternoon of May 2, 2016. An Amber Alert was sent at 2:30 a.m. the next day. Her body was found just before noon on May 3.

The lawsuit and tort claim filed Aug. 22, 2016, were provided to KOB by the Navajo Nation. The suit claims the Navajo Nation had two chances to set up an Amber Alert system with U.S. Justice Department grant money. One grant for $330,000 was awarded in 2007, with another $357,000 awarded in 2011.

Both times the system was not finished. The lawsuit claims that money was funneled to other projects, possibly paid bonuses for staff, and some funds were returned to the DOJ unused.

Also named in the suit are the Shiprock police captain and acting Navajo Nation police chief at the time of Ashlynne Mike's death. The suit states Capt. Ivan Tsosie was "directly responsible for funneling Amber Alert funds into other projects" and "mishandling of the investigation and search after Ashlynne Mike was reported missing."

The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and damages, but it specifies no dollar amount. The tort claim demands $3 million.

In a press release dated January 12, 2017, the Navajo Nation said they have portions of an alerting system that would include Amber Alerts in place. It further said more software and training is required before that system is fully functional. 

Credits

Devin Neeley

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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