Missing Indigenous cases in the Northwest get new, dedicated prosecutor

MMIP Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Washington
MMIP Assistant United States Attorney, Eastern District of Washington. (Credit: U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Washington)


Bree R. Black Horse is the new prosecutor dedicated to investigating cases involving Missing and Murdered Indigenous People in the Northwest.

Black Horse is based in the United States Attorney’s for the Eastern District of Washington Office in Yakima. She pursues cases throughout the Northwest Region, including Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and California.

In a press release, U.S. Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref noted that Black Horse’s appointment demonstrates the Department of Justice’s commitment to combating the root causes of the MMIP crisis and holding those responsible for these crimes accountable. 

“Our District is committed to being a leader in addressing the MMIP crisis,” said Waldref. “As we welcome AUSA Black Horse, we reiterate our shared commitment to ensuring the safety and security of all who call Eastern Washington home.”

“For too long, Indigenous men, women and children have suffered violence at rates higher than many other demographics,” said Black Horse. 

She also said, “I look forward to working with our local, state and tribal partners to identify concrete ways of reducing violence and improving public safety in Indian country and elsewhere.” 

Black Horse’s recent appointment is part of the Regional Outreach Program created last year by the DOJ to prioritize the investigation of MMIP cases. 

The program is part of the Deputy Attorney General Office’s national directive to promote public safety in Indian Country. The Office allocated resources to accelerate efforts, in partnership with Tribes, to pursue justice for American Indian and Alaska Native families.

The program will have five MMIP assistant U.S. attorneys and five MMIP coordinators to provide specialized support.

According to Washington State Patrol data there are 128 active cases of missing or murdered Indigenous people in the state. At least 34 of which were reported in the Yakima area.