EXCLUSIVE: Grand Forks family hopes for justice after human remains identified

A Grand Forks family is grieving after human remains found on the Spirit Lake Reservation Sunday night have been positively identified as 39-year-old Joseph Bruce.

Bruce has been missing since June 2018. In an interview last year with Valley News Live, Bruce's family said they believed he had been murdered.

"I don't even know what to say. It's just so heart breaking. I wish everybody would have believed us from the beginning, believed me whenever I told them something happened. No one wanted to believe me," Bruce's wife, Miranda Patnaude said.

Bruce's skull was found in the Fort Totten area by passerbys, almost in the exact same spot his van was found in the days after he went missing.

"I asked the city of Fort Totten plenty of times to please drain those sloughs and to search those sloughs but they never did," Patnaude said.

The discovery is met with frustration by Bruce's family as they were told for months after he first disappeared that he likely ran away,but Patnaude says knew that wasn't the case.

"I know Joe... I've been with him for 21 years. I know him. There is no way. He would never not contact me or his kids," she said.

Patnaude says for now she and her family just hope the rest of his body is found so he can finally be laid to rest.

Meanwhile, they are also hoping for answers as to how this all happened and that those responsible are brought to justice.

"I just hope they get what they deserve. They should never see daylight again. Just like they didn't let Joe... They just left him laying somewhere," Patnaude says.

This case is being investigated by the FBI, the BIA and the Devils Lake Police Department. As of yet, there have not been any arrests made in connection to this case.

Investigators are currently searching for the remaining parts of Bruce's body, and there are still tests to be done on his remains to determine just how he died.

If you have any information on this case--- you're urged to call the devils lake police department at 701-662-0700