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Father Of Ashlynne Mike's Lawsuit Against Navajo Nation May Move Forward

Austin Cope

The father of an 11-year-old girl who was murdered on the Navajo Nation in 2016 is seeking to move forward with a lawsuit he has filed against the tribe, its Division of Public Safety, its law-enforcement department, and police Captain Ivan Tsosie. Ashlynne Mike was kidnapped in New Mexico and later killed near the Ship Rock formation by 28-year-old Tom Begaye, Jr. The Farmington Daily-Times reports that the lawsuit by Ashlynne’s father, Gary Mike, was filed a year ago in tribal court. However, it was suspended in April pending the outcome of proceedings against Begaye. In October, he was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to murder and other offenses. The Daily-Times reports that an attorney for Gary Mike has filed a motion asking that the suspension of the lawsuit be lifted, but the court has yet to rule on it. In his complaint, Mike contends that the tribe was negligent because it had not created an Amber Alert system on the reservation to issue notifications of child abductions, even though it had received federal funding to do so. On December 12th, Navajo President Russell Begaye signed a contract for software for an emergency alert system that includes Amber Alerts. The president said in a statement, “We always pray that we will never have another abduction, but we need this in place.”

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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