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Regional News

Spokane Tribal Member To Help State Patrol With Missing and Murdered Persons Cases

Washington_State_Patrol_patch.jpg
Courtesy of Washington State Patrol
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A Spokane Tribal member is now on the job, helping Washington state with cases involving missing and murdered indigenous people.

Dawn Pullin’s job with the State Patrol was created by the legislature after members heard stories about Native American women who were either murdered or missing.

Pullin will serve as a bridge between investigating agencies and Native tribes in eastern Washington. She says she has first-hand experience in cases like this. Her mother was murdered when she was 20.

“I remember at that age communicating with law enforcement, the Bureau of Indian Affairs. People were also communicating to me that whole process, where the individual that did the crime was, so I’m familiar with that whole process," she said.

Pullin joins Patti Gooch, who, until this week, has been the state patrol’s tribal liaison for the entire state. Gooch says Native Americans and Alaska Natives comprise nearly two percent of Washington’s population, but five percent of the people reported missing.

“Some of the people that are on our list have been missing since 1971. Part of the thing I have done for the past year is go through that list one at a time and try to find them. We actually have found people," Gooch said.

She says the liaisons also field calls from people out-of-state who are looking for loved ones, but say they never knew whom to call in Washington to report someone missing.