The location of the death of a loved one determines which law enforcement agency has jurisdiction over the investigation. This is where it can get complicated.
For those cases in which the crime was committed in "Indian Country", the case falls under federal jurisdiction and are therefore handled by Tribal, BIA and FBI investigators.
"Indian Country", by federal law, is defined as either a reservation, in a non-reservation Indian community within land that the federal government has set aside specifically for tribal use or on individually allotted land.
if the crime didn't occur on any land that meets either of the three above criteria, jurisdiction falls upon either local or state law enforcement such as city police or the state highway patrol.
For Native people who's death occurs outside of "Indian Country", or on non-tribal land, jurisdiction can be especially frustrating as the BIA's Missing and Murdered Unit's newly announced initiatives to improve response efforts in investigating and prosecuting Native homicide cases do not include the homicides of Native people that occur on non-tribal land.
The only exception to this would be if a crime occurred across multiple jurisdictions. For example: If a Native person went missing in one state and their death then subsequently occurred in another state.
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