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Two-Year-Old Child Killed in Bartlesville in mid October


A two-year-old child was killed in Bartlesville in mid-October. Bartlesville Police believed a 17-year-old male was the responsible party in the murder. The suspect is of Native American descent and because of this, the crime could not be prosecuted locally. The juvenile was first brought in on Friday night.

No information has been released about the nature of the incident. The suspect was in a dating relationship with the child's mother. 

According to District Attorney Kevin Buchanan, attempts were made to find a facility to hold a juvenile Cherokee Nation detainee. Buchanan further said that despite the best efforts of all parties involved a facility could not be found to hold the suspect and he was turned loose. Buchanan says this is a direct result of the McGirt ruling.

The unnamed juvenile was then released to the care of a family member in Bartlesville. Less than 24 hours later he was arrested at the child’s mother’s home.  A protective order had been filed after the incident. The suspect is currently being held at a facility in Eastern Oklahoma.

Under the Major Crimes Act, murder is to be prosecuted at the federal level. Buchanan explains why this case can’t be prosecuted locally.

Buchanan said that a further complexity in this matter is that the federal government does not routinely handle juvenile cases and does not have the same processes in place that the state level has.

Since the defendant and victim are both minors, no information can be released at this time. If federal charges are filed then the defendant’s information would become public record.




Response from Cherokee Nation Attorney General Sara Hill:

“It’s clear that state officials and the Washington County District Attorney are trying to sabotage tribes who are protecting public safety in the U.S. Supreme Court McGirt decision.

 On Friday, even though the state had bed space available for a 17-year-old murder suspect who falls in Cherokee Nation’s jurisdiction in McGirt, the Cherokee Nation was told no beds could be made available for a tribal defendant at any price.

As always, Cherokee Nation was ready, willing and able to pay for the bed space, which was readily available.

Ultimately, Bartlesville Police were asked to put the juvenile in his mother’s custody for the night. Instead, Bartlesville Police delivered him into the custody of the juvenile’s friend.

The Washington County District Attorney on Monday then called up a radio station in Bartlesville and the Bartlesville Examiner newspaper to come down to their office to spin a story with the goal of creating chaos and confusion.

Those reporters were given news releases from District Attorney Buchanan citing that the Cherokee Nation could not find bed space for the 17-year-old murder suspect who was “loose… on the streets because the tribe had run out of room to house tribal members.”

This is blatantly incorrect and DA Buchanan should know this, because that juvenile has been in secured detention arranged by the Cherokee Nation since Saturday.

The DA would be better served trying to help protect communities and citizens here in the Cherokee Nation Reservation, rather than stir up confusion and blatantly false media narratives aimed at sabotaging tribes.”



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