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MMIP. Amidst the launch of MMIP Awareness week, a notable victory in Northern California sees justice served for Milton “Yogi” McGarva, a Pit River tribal citizen. 

California Attorney General Rob Bonta recently announced the sentencing of Jarrett Bleu Rucker to 26 years to life in prison for McGarva's murder, marking a crucial development in the ongoing fight against the Missing Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) crisis.

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The tragic events unfolded on March 9, 2020, when Modoc County Sheriff's Deputies responded to a stabbing report at a residence on County Road 65 in Likely, California. Upon arrival, they discovered McGarva, fatally wounded, alongside Rucker, who sustained injuries requiring urgent medical attention.

The prosecution, led by the California Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, concluded with a jury finding Rucker guilty of first-degree murder. This verdict, reached on February 27, 2024, marked the end of a legal saga that began with McGarva's tragic death. 

“If it wasn’t for the Attorney General's Office, I don’t think we would have had this moment," Morning Star Gali, executive director of Indigenous Justice  said in a press release. "We are extremely grateful for all of the efforts involved to bring justice for Yogi and his family." 

Since becoming Attorney General, Bonta has taken action to address the MMIP crisis in California. He's organized statewide MMIP events called "Missing in California Indian Country," providing crucial support for tribal communities. These events allow loved ones to report missing individuals, get updates on cases, and provide DNA samples for identification. 

Bonta also created the Native American Marsy’s Law Information Card to inform tribal crime victims of their rights. Additionally, he supports Assembly Bill 2695 (AB 2695) by Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland), which requires law enforcement to report crime data from Indian lands to the DOJ, aiding in MMIP crisis resolution.

“Today, I am thinking of the family of Milton ‘Yogi’ McGarva. I can’t begin to imagine what they have been through these past few years. My team fought hard to secure justice for them, and now, Yogi’s killer will be behind bars for a substantial amount of time,” Attorney General Bonta said. “At the California Department of Justice, we will continue to hold accountable those who terrorize any of our neighborhoods, including our tribal communities that too often are overlooked.”

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About The Author
Kaili Berg
Author: Kaili BergEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Staff Reporter
Kaili Berg (Aleut) is a member of the Alutiiq/Sugpiaq Nation, and a shareholder of Koniag, Inc. She is a staff reporter for Native News Online and Tribal Business News. Berg, who is based in Wisconsin, previously reported for the Ho-Chunk Nation newspaper, Hocak Worak. She went to school originally for nursing, but changed her major after finding her passion in communications at Western Technical College in Lacrosse, Wisconsin.