Ashlynne Mike's father seeks action in lawsuit filed against tribe

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A motion filed this month seeks to move forward the lawsuit filed last year by the father of Ashlynne Mike against the Navajo Nation.

Gary Mike filed the complaint last December against the tribe and its Division of Public Safety and Department of Law Enforcement and tribal police Capt. Ivan Tsosie.

It alleges the tribe's lack to develop a child abduction system on the reservation, despite receiving two federal grants, contributed to the death of his 11-year-old daughter.

Ashlynne Mike and her brother, Ian Mike, were kidnapped on May 2, 2016, while walking home from school in San Juan Chapter.

Ian Mike was found several hours later walking alongside a highway near the Shiprock pinnacle. Ashlynne Mike was found dead on May 3, 2016, in an area south of the pinnacle.

Tom Begaye Jr., 28, pleaded guilty in August to a six-count federal indictment charging him with murder, aggravated sexual abuse and kidnapping offenses.

Begaye was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release in October.

Mother of Ashlynne Mike Pamela Foster, center, speaks outside the Pete V. Domenici United States Courthouse in Albuquerque on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, as Ashlynne's father Gary Mike, left, listens.

Gary Mike filed the civil complaint on Dec. 7, 2016, in Shiprock District Court and the case was transferred in January to Window Rock District Court in accordance with tribal law, court records state.

Window Rock District Court Judge Carol Perry granted a joint motion in April to suspend the legal action until the federal criminal case against Begaye was resolved.

Attorney David Jordan, who is representing Gary Mike, filed a motion to lift the stay and allow the case to proceed since the federal case closed on Oct. 20.

Judicial Branch spokeswoman Karen Francis said Monday no decision has been issued by the tribal court.

Within days of Ashlynne Mike's death, the tribe established a task force to develop and implement an emergency alert system to notify residents.

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye, no relation to Tom Begaye Jr., signed a contract on Dec. 12 to purchase software from Everbridge Inc. to implement the alert system.

The system would send notifications for road closures, weather, hazardous waste spills, wildland fires and Amber Alerts and it would be managed by the Navajo Department of Emergency Management, according to a press release from the president's office.

The emergency management department anticipates the software to be in place by the end of the year, the release states.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at