FBI Translates Crime Posters Into Navajo Language To Find Leads on Homicide, Missing Person Cases

By Austin Fast
Published: Sunday, December 20, 2020 - 5:05am

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Researchers say Native American women go missing or are murdered at higher rates than women of other races. A new effort by the FBI is combatting this problem.

The FBI's field office in Albuquerque has started translated crime posters into the Navajo language as a new way to find leads on unsolved homicides and missing-persons cases around the Navajo Nation.

"Our main purpose is to safeguard communities and to protect them," said Frank Fisher, spokesman for the Albuquerque FBI office. "If we can overcome language barriers, if we can overcome cultural barriers, whatever we need to do ... it just breaks your heart. These missing women (and) these homicide victims — they're not forgotten. They have loved ones. They have families out there, and those people deserve justice."

A yearlong study released last month from the Arizona state Legislature and a team of Arizona State University researchers found 160 Native American women have been murdered across Arizona since 1976. They say this represents a higher rate than crimes against women of other races and that murders of Indigenous women and girls have been steadily increasing over the past 40 years.

These experts listed dozens of recommendations to reduce this problem, including recruiting more Native Americans in law enforcement.

Fisher said the FBI's Albuquerque office already has a few Navajo speakers on staff, who contributed to this translation effort. Since March, they have translated 13 crime posters into the Navajo language, including the case of 9-year-old Anthonette Cayedito who went missing in 1986. Fisher said his office plans to attend meetings on the Navajo Nation once pandemic restrictions are lifted to raise awareness among the community and hopefully provide leads that can solve these crimes.

The 13 posters include photographs, incident details, physical descriptions, and in many cases, rewards.

"The FBI works to ensure safety and security in Indian Country and remains committed to that role and responsibility. Our success relies on collaboration and partnerships with our tribal law enforcement agencies, and the community providing invaluable tips," said Sean Kaul, special agent in charge of the Phoenix FBI Division. "These poster translations help us not only connect with the community, but they provide us with one more avenue to solicit information that can help solve these crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice. We will continue to work with all our federal, state, local and tribal partners to protect all of our communities."

Visit the website here to see the posters. Anyone with information about any of these cases is asked to call the FBI office responsible for the part of the Navajo Nation where the incident occurred:

  • Arizona: (623) 466-1999
  • New Mexico: (505) 889-1300

Information can also be sent online by going to tips.fbi.gov.


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