BOISE, Idaho — About 11 in 100 thousand people are missing in Idaho, but for Indigenous people, that rate is nearly double.
During the 2020 legislative session, House Concurrent Resolution 33 was passed which declared this issue a crisis and called for research.
In November Idaho News 6 reported on the report this legislation commissioned, which identifies challenges and solutions to this problem.
Two Boise State researchers who compiled the HCR 33 report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous People say more research needs to be done to find out why Indigenous people in Idaho make up a disproportionate percentage of missing person cases. But they did provide suggestions on how to solve this crisis.
The recommendations include expanding community education on these cases and enhancing capacity of the Idaho Missing Persons Clearinghouse.
The Idaho Missing Persons Clearinghouse assists local law enforcement agencies with missing person cases.
"The manager of that clearinghouse does some really great work in terms of meeting those responsibilities and obligations, maintaining the clearinghouse, which is an information center for missing persons in the state, and also liaising and engaging in trainings," said Lane Gillespie, one of the researchers who compiled the report.
When a missing person is reported to local law enforcement, it gets entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database.
"That then notifies the Clearinghouse here at Idaho State Police that we have a missing person in the state of Idaho," said Tanea Parmentor, the manager of the Idaho Missing Persons Clearinghouse.
She then collects data on the person and enters it into the clearinghouse database and website.
The clearinghouse is also the agency that broadcasts any amber or endangered missing person alerts.
"And so further support of the clearinghouse for it to be able to continue to engage in that work would be really beneficial for the state," Gillespie said. "Additionally, just general community education."
Parmentor said one common misconception is there's a waiting period to report a missing person.
"You don't need to wait 24 hours to report a person missing or have any type of waiting period. Especially for juveniles. There's actually a federal law that states we're not allowed to have a waiting period for juveniles, that they have to be entered into NCIC within two hours," Parmentor said.
She said another misconception is that finding a missing person is solely law enforcement's job.
"There's a lot of things that the public can do to help look for missing--and get that information out and share that information that we're looking for an individual," Parmentor said. "Families are — can plan ahead as far as making sure that they know the persons — who they normally hang out with, are involved with, contact information, cellular information. Those are all tools that law enforcement needs to recover a missing person."
Republican Rep. Caroline Nilsson Troy of Genesee spearheaded this legislation in 2020. She said because of the COVID-19 pandemic she and other stakeholders haven't been able to determine whether more legislation is necessary, but she said she wants to make sure people continue to pay attention to this issue.