MMIW Cases

Sovereign Bodies Institute filed this request with the Iowa Department of Public Safety of Iowa .
Est. Completion None
Status
Fix Required

Communications

From: Sovereign Bodies Institute


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Iowa Open Records Law, I hereby request the following records:

Data on all cases of: unsolved missing persons, homicides, suspicious deaths, and deaths in custody involving an Alaska Native/American Indian woman or girl victim within your jurisdiction(s). For the purposes of this request, "Alaska Native/American Indian" is defined as any individual who was identified as a member of an Alaska Native or American Indian community or as having Alaska Native/American Indian heritage. "Woman or girl" includes all victims identified as females, as well as transgender women. If there are any Jane Does that have been identified as potentially Alaska Native or American Indian, please include them as well. We are requesting cases dating from 1900 to the present.

This request is for basic information on cases as classified above. Such information may include but is not limited to victim name, location and date of disappearance/death, age of victim, status of case (solved or unsolved).

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Annita Lucchesi

From: Iowa Department of Public Safety

Ms. Lucchesi,

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) is in receipt of your request dated July 16, 2019. The original request that you listed, I do not have record of and I apologize if it was lost somewhere in our system.

As far as your request is concerned I would like to explain a few things about the DCI. We are a requested agency and do not have original jurisdiction for criminal investigations. By state code, we have to be requested to assist or investigate a crime by the law enforcement entity with original jurisdiction such as a police department, sheriff's office or county prosecutor. With that said, there is no requirement, nor do we solicit, for local agencies to report crime to our division/department. Any cases that we do become involved in would only be our cases and would not be an accurate representation of crime statistics for the state of Iowa.

Furthermore we have a very antiquated database that we have been using since the early 1990's, it is not easily searched by simply using identifying characteristics of individuals. It would literally take looking at every missing persons case, homicide, suspicious deaths and deaths in custody that the DCI assisted with, reading each and every case report to try and illicit the ethnicity and gender of the victim. You have asked for records dating back to 1900, the DCI has been in existence since 1921. It would literally take dozens and dozens of man hours to attempt to write a program that may or not be able to search the database and then physically search and read each and every case file, some of which are on microfilm. I would not even begin to be able to estimate the cost that would be billed back to you in attempt to fulfill this request.

The good news is that we are moving toward a new database system that we are hoping to have up and running in the next 6 to 12 months. That system will only be for investigations moving forward from the launch date.

If I can be of any other assistance please let me know.

Sincerely,

Mitch Mortvedt, Assistant Director
Field Operations Bureau
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation
215 E. 7th Street | Des Moines, IA 50319
o: 515.725.6015 | c: 402.650.7458 | f: 515.725.6020
mortvedt@dps.state.ia.us<mailto:mortvedt@dps.state.ia.us>

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