TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Cherokee Nation has hired a criminal investigator who solely works on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons cases.
According to a press release, Perry Proctor has spent the past year at the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service assigned to MMIP cases. Proctor is a former OSBI cold case detective and Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs investigator working in law enforcement since 1976.
“Any Cherokee or tribal citizen who goes missing has a family and a community who misses and needs them,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “As tribes, we must commit resources to help these families and citizens get resolve, closure and justice and work to reduce the higher rate of crime against Native women and people across this country.”
Cherokee Nation Marshals have criminal jurisdiction over 7,000 square miles of the Cherokee Nation Reservation in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court McGirt and subsequent Hogner decisions, which has increased the tribe’s number of MMIP cases.
“Our workload on Missing and Murdered Indigenous People has increased enough that we hired a special investigator to help handle these cases,” said Cherokee Nation Marshal Shannon Buhl. “As McGirt was going through the courts, we looked to find someone who had more knowledge in missing and murdered cases or cases investigated a long time ago, and we were lucky enough, we found someone.”
The Cherokee Nation has led searches and worked active MMIP cases in recent months. Proctor, a tribal citizen, said he’s been able to locate some of the missing, and still working to locate others.
“We’re here for the victims and victim’s families who need someone to turn to,” Proctor said. “I certainly don’t work alone—there are other investigators who help me—but we do need someone coordinating, and moving things along to see if we can find resolution for some of our missing tribal citizens.”
Anyone with information or tips on MMIP cases involving Cherokee Nation citizens or the Cherokee Nation Reservation can call the Marshal Service at 918-207-3800.