Eliot Neal has been named as the Missing or Murdered Indigenous Person Assistant United States Attorney for the Southwest Regions (MMIP AUSA) encompassing New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and Arizona.
Neal is currently the United States Attorney's Office District New Mexico Tribal Liaison to the Mescalero Apache Tribe. He is one of five MMIP AUSAs who will support the U.S. Attorney’s offices in combatting the ongoing MMIP crisis. That support includes assisting in the investigation of unresolved MMIP cases and related crimes, and promoting communication, coordination, and collaboration among federal, Tribal, local, and state law enforcement and non-governmental partners on MMIP issues, according to a statement from the United State’s Attorney’s Office District of New Mexico.
Neal hails from Wilson, Wyoming, at the foot of the Teton mountain range, a historical crossroads for the Crow, Gros Ventre, Blackfeet, Nez Perce, Bannock, Eastern Shoshone, and Sheep Eaters tribes.
He attended Middlebury College for his undergraduate degree and law school at Emory University. In 2022 Neal became an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico in the Las Cruces Branch Office in 2022. He has worked on a variety of cases, including child exploitation, gun crimes, and Indian Country crimes during his time at the District.
Eliot serves as the District’s Tribal Liaison to the Mescalero Apache Tribe. In that capacity, Eliot reestablished the District’s relationship with Mescalero after a fifteen-year lapse.
“I am excited to be joining the Department of Justice’s response to the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous persons,” Neal said in a statement. “After losing my own brother, I know how devastating it is to have a loved one taken from you. In my new role, I will do everything I can to help bring about closure and justice to those impacted by the MMIP crisis.”
Native American and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities face high rates of violence, with four in five AI/AN women experiencing violence in their lifetime, according to a report by the National Institute of Justice.
There is no comprehensive, nationwide data on MMIP. The Bureau of Indigenous Affairs estimates there 4,200 unsolved MMIP cases. However, due to poor data collection, advocates estimate there are many more. A report by the Urban Indian Health Institute showed New Mexico, Arizona and Utah among the states with the most MMIP in the nation.
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