BELCOURT, ND – The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has confirmed that law enforcement discovered a dead body on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation on or around May 2. The circumstances of the death are uncertain and details are scarce, but the death is considered suspicious and is treated as homicide.
On or about May 2, police recovered a body from inside a vehicle from Jarvis Lake on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota. Authorities secured the scene and contacted the FBI. Brandon Bave Gonzales, 36, of Williston, North Dakota, has been identified from the spot, an FBI spokesperson told Native News Online. It is a non-tribal member. We don’t know how long his body has been there.
According to the Williston Police Department, Gonzalez was arrested on December 30, 2019 in Williams County, North Dakota, for possession of paraphernalia related to the drug, heroin, which is an offense. Gonzalez had an open warrant for “failure to appear” from the Williams County Sheriff’s Department according to the Williston Police Department. Police said no missing person report had been filed.
There were no arrests in connection with the discovery of Gonzalez’s body, according to the Rolette County Sheriff’s Department.
Violent crime rates across Native American reservations are 2.5 times the national average, while some individual reservations are 20 times the national violent crime average according to the United States Department of Justice. The FBI is charged with investigating the most serious crimes in the Indian country, such as murder, sexual and physical abuse of children, violent assaults, drug trafficking, public corruption, financial crimes and violations of Indian games.
Nationally, the FBI has investigative responsibilities for some 200 federally recognized Indian reserves. Over 100 officers in 19 of the Bureau’s 56 field offices work full time on Indian country issues. Four field divisions (Albuquerque, Minneapolis, Phoenix and Salt Lake City) account for 75 percent of all Indian country cases opened each year.
This is an active investigation.
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