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CRIME NEWS     CRIME ANALYSIS     TRUE CRIME STORIES
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CRIME NEWS     CRIME ANALYSIS     TRUE CRIME STORIES
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CRIME NEWS     CRIME ANALYSIS     TRUE CRIME STORIES
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By Rampart Stonebridge, updated on August 14, 2023

Hikers find skull belonging to man missing for 3 years

A skull discovered in Phoenix's South Mountain Park and Preserve provides tragic answers to a family's search for their missing loved one, Jerole Tsinnijinnie.

Jerole Tsinnijinnie, a loving father and avid Batman fan, had been missing for over three years. For his family, it was a period of tormenting uncertainty and deep anguish. Recent DNA evidence has identified a skull, found earlier this year by a hiker in Phoenix's South Mountain Park and Preserve, as that of the Native American man, Fox News reported.

The grim discovery paints a heartbreaking picture. Kaylene Tsinnijinnie, Jerole's sister, remembered her brother fondly.

"He was a great dad. He loved all of his kids. He gave them all of his time. He took very good care of them," Kaylene Tsinnijinnie remarked.

Errors in the initial investigation

When authorities first found the skull, they believed the victim to be a white or Hispanic male in his 20s. They provided a description based on his attire. However, Jerole was Diné – the term used by Navajo tribal members to refer to themselves.

In a grim twist of fate, it was a composite sketch made from the skull that piqued the interest of Kaylene. She phoned the investigators, wondering if the image resembled her brother. It is a detail that makes one ponder: would Jerole have been found sooner if authorities had been more accurate in their initial assessments?

Phoenix police spokesperson, Sgt. Robert Scherer, commented on the ongoing investigation, though specifics weren't disclosed.

Questions remain unanswered

Despite the heartbreaking discovery, many questions remain. His family is torn over whether he met his fate at South Mountain Park or if his remains were simply left there.

Kaylene, still grappling with the loss, wonders if he would he still be alive if the police had given his case more attention from the start?

As the police continue to treat Jerole's death as a homicide, the family waits, hoping for justice and answers, USN reports.

A larger issue at hand

This heart-wrenching story highlights a bigger concern. According to a 2020 report from the National Crime Information Center's Missing Person and Unidentified Person Statistics, there were 9,575 missing Native American persons. The alarming rate of disappearances and killings among Native Americans is indeed a matter of national concern.

Former Navajo Nation police chief, Phillip Francisco, mentioned that tribal agencies often work closely with family members of the missing. Sadly, federal agencies have shown reluctance in providing families with essential details about ongoing investigations.

Francisco discussed that tribal agencies often collaborate closely with families of the missing, whereas federal agencies historically hesitated to share investigation details with these families.

Steps towards improvement

Recognizing the gravity of the issue, the U.S. government has committed to allocate more resources for investigations and prosecutions related to these cases.

A special commission has recently concluded a series of field hearings in various states to understand better and address the concerning rates of disappearances and killings among Native Americans. Their task is to devise recommendations to improve coordination across jurisdictions.

With areas like Maricopa and Navajo counties in Arizona recording high cases of missing Native Americans, coordinated efforts across all agencies are crucial.

Lessons to learn from this tragedy

1. Awareness & Vigilance: Always let someone know of your whereabouts, especially if you are venturing out alone. A simple message can make all the difference.

2. Community Support: A community that stays vigilant and supports each other can act as a deterrent to potential crimes. Neighbors watching out for neighbors can create a safer environment for everyone.

3. Never Hesitate to Report: If you notice someone missing or any suspicious activity, report it immediately. Time is often of the essence in such situations.

It's essential to remember, however, that despite taking precautions, unfortunate events can happen to anyone. Victim-blaming is not the answer, and the focus should be on supporting the affected and preventing future occurrences.

Why this story resonates with many

Jerole's story is not just a tale of a missing person. It's a narrative that reflects the pain, anxiety, and hope of thousands of families with missing loved ones. His story highlights the systemic issues and challenges faced by Native American communities, a marginalized group that often feels unheard.

For many, it's a reminder that every missing person has a story, a family, dreams, and a life cut short. It drives home the importance of community vigilance and the role of authorities in acting swiftly and efficiently.

The story underscores the significance of unity and action. By being vigilant, supporting each other, and demanding more from our institutions, we can hope to bring a change and provide closure to families like Jerole's.

In the end, it's about justice, memories, and ensuring that every life is valued and remembered.

Please share this article on Twitter and Facebook.

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Written By: Rampart Stonebridge

I'm Rampart Stonebridge, a curious and passionate writer who can't get enough of true crime. As a criminal investigative journalist, I put on my detective hat, delving deep into each case to reveal the hidden truths. My mission? To share engaging stories and shed light on the complexities of our mysterious world, all while satisfying your curiosity about the intriguing realm of true crime.

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