Have You Seen Pepita Redhair? Family Fears Navajo Woman Is A Human Trafficking Victim
27-year-old Pepita Redhair went missing from Albuquerque, New Mexico on March 24, 2020.
The last words that Anita King heard her daughter speak were, “Mom, I love you. Take care of yourself.”
Anita was dropping her 27-year-old daughter, Pepita Redhair, off at her boyfriend’s house just south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. It had been an hour's drive from Anita’s home back on the Navajo Reservation, but Pepita was insistent that she return home to her long-term boyfriend, Nick.
Pepita had always been desperate to get off of the reservation and make a life for herself. She left for Albuquerque as soon as possible after high school graduation, and she met Nick in 2016. Within six months of knowing one another, Pepita had moved into the home where Nick lived with his parents.
Something Was Wrong
On March 25, Anita thought it was odd that she hadn’t heard from her daughter. Pepita always checked in at least once during the day. On March 27, she tried again to reach her daughter and received no response. Anita called Nick, asking him to please put her in touch with Pepita, but Nick told Anita that Pepita had left and he didn’t know where she was.
The panic in Anita’s stomach only grew, and she contacted the Albuquerque Police Department.
Initially, officers brushed her off and told her it was legal for adults to go missing and not reach out. Pepita’s family knew then that they were on their own and began their own search for Pepita.
They posted fliers around the Albuquerque neighborhood where Pepita was known to spend time and asked around if anybody had seen her. As the Covid-19 pandemic raged around them, the APD insisted they could not investigate the case or conduct in-person interviews. Anita called the Navajo Nation police, hoping they would help, but Albuquerque was outside their jurisdiction. Pepita’s sister, Shelda Livingston, asked local news channels to broadcast her sister’s photo, but the stations would not honor her request.
Shelda drove to the cul-de-sac where Nick’s home sat behind a concrete block fence. She stood at the gate, yelling for her sister or Nick to come out and speak to her. Nothing happened; the family dogs just stood behind the fence and barked.
Anita and Shelda were beginning to fear the worst — Pepita had recently confided in Anita that Nick was drinking excessively and alleged that he’d become physically violent towards her. Still, despite the alleged violence, Nick finally reported Pepita missing on April 19, 2020. He told authorities that he and Pepita got into a fight, and she left on foot and never returned.
See what other information the family gathered from the missing person report on Disappeared: "Navajo Nightmare" streaming on discovery+.
If you have any information about Pepita Redhair’s whereabouts, please call the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office at 505-222-1101.