FBI: More than 650 people reported missing in New Mexico, Navajo Nation

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The first week of May marks the National Week of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives.

According to the FBI, 10% of the population in New Mexico identifies as Native American. Many organizations are hosting events to raise awareness this week.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill in 2019 to establish the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives Task Force. The goal was to get a real understanding of how many people are missing in the state.

Getting accurate numbers is a problem nationwide. An intelligence analyst with the FBI told KOB 4 that between social media and local databases, it is difficult to get an accurate statewide database. That’s what the task force set out to do a year ago.

“From mid-July 2022 until mid-April 2023, which is the date of our last public release, there have been over 650 individuals reported as missing to law enforcement in the state of New Mexico and the Navajo Nation,” said Donald Metzmeier, FBI intelligence analyst.

10% of those cases had no resolutions – meaning 66 Indigenous people joined 134 people on the long-term missing list.

The FBI has been helping the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives Task Force from supporting local law enforcement to gathering data. With the system now in place, their focus turns to finding trends within that data.

If you report it within 0-5 days after going missing, on average, the local law enforcement is able to clear that case within one day,” Metzmeier said. “If a family waits up to 6-9 days to report to local enforcement, we see that number jump from one day to nine days.”

If your loved one is missing, call law enforcement as soon as you can. For additional resources on what to do, click here.