HELENA – Attorney General Tim Fox announced today his agency has hired a Missing Persons Specialist and a LINC Coordinator; both begin their new duties at the Montana Department of Justice (DOJ) this week.
Former Glacier County Deputy Sheriff Misty LaPlant is DOJ’s Missing Persons Specialist. This new position, which is under DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), will work closely with local, state, federal, and tribal law enforcement on missing persons cases. The position was created when the 2019 Legislature passed House Bill 21, also known as Hanna’s Act. LaPlant, a member of the Blackfeet Tribe, has experience in investigating missing persons cases, served on a sexual assault response team, and on DUI task forces. Prior to working for the Glacier County Sheriff’s Office, LaPlant was a police officer with Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services.
Helena resident Tina Chamberlain is DOJ’s LINC Coordinator. This new position, also under DOJ’s DCI, was created by the 2019 passage of Senate Bill 312. Known as the Looping in Native Communities (LINC) Act, it created Montana’s Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force and a grant program for the creation of the Looping In Native Communities Network. Chamberlain will administer the grant and help the task force find ways to track Montana’s missing indigenous persons. Chamberlain, former Grants Contracts Coordinator for the Montana Bureau of Crime Control, has extensive grant writing experience. In 2016, Chamberlain submitted DOJ’s successful application for a $2 million federal grant to help Montana track and test previously unsubmitted sex assault kits.
“I’m very pleased to announce the onboarding of our new Missing Persons Specialist and LINC Coordinator to help us address Montana’s missing indigenous persons issue,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “Misty LaPlant and Tina Chamberlain are both remarkable professionals with a passion for serving the people of Montana, particularly those in Indian Country. I look forward to the good work they’ll do in conjunction with many other entities to improve Montana’s response in identifying, reporting, and locating our missing children and adults,” Fox added.
Over the past two years, Attorney General Fox’s office worked with the State-Tribal Relations Interim Committee on measures to address missing indigenous persons in Montana. Four related bills passed in the 2019 Legislative Session, as well as the LINC Act. At the direction of the Legislature, Attorney General Fox appointed members to a Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force this spring. Additionally, the Montana DOJ collaborated with Montana’s U.S. Attorney’s Office on a joint training in June for law enforcement and the public on issues relating to missing persons cases.
Another collaborative training is set for October 16 in Billings.