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Native American Amber Alert bill passes through US Senate

(AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)

PHOENIX — The U.S. Senate has approved a bill expanding Amber Alerts to Native American reservations.

The Ashlynne Mike AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) in May of last year, is named for an 11-year-old girl lured into a van, sexually assaulted and killed on the Navajo Nation in May 2016.

There was no Amber Alert until the day after she was reported missing. Her body was found near Shiprock, New Mexico.

Biggs tweeted approval over the passage of the bill.

The bill gives tribes access to federal grants used for Amber Alerts by law enforcement and creates a training program.

U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) introduced a similar piece of legislation to the Senate in November, which was unanimously passed. He also released a statement Friday.

“This bipartisan legislation addresses serious gaps in current law that have prevented tribes from quickly issuing AMBER Alerts and helping victims like Ashlynne escape tragedy,” he said.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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