Arapaho Mother Loses 2 Daughters 1 Year Apart: ‘They Had A Face, They Had A Life’

“What can we put in place to help this epidemic that is occurring for both genders on our reservation?” Nicole Wagon asks.

November 22, 2022
selfie of Jocelyn Watt smiling (left); selfie of Jade Wagon smiling (right)

Jocelyn Watt (left); Jade Wagon (right)

Photo by: Screenshots via KSL-TV

Screenshots via KSL-TV

Jocelyn Watt (left); Jade Wagon (right)

By: Aaron Rasmussen

An Arapaho mother in Wyoming whose two daughters died — one to murder and the other in questionable circumstances — is now focused on furthering the missing and murdered Indigenous persons movement in Wyoming.

“I'm advocating to try and make a difference,” Nicole Wagon said, according to Insider. “What can we put in place to help this epidemic that is occurring for both genders on our reservation?”

On Jan. 5, 2019, Wagon’s eldest daughter, Jocelyn Watt, and her partner, Rudy Perez, both 30, were fatally shot in their Riverton home. The double murder was a mystery until January 2022, when three people were charged for their deaths. Patrick Sun Rhodes and Bryce Teran both face two felony charges of murder, and Korbin Headley is charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary.

Jocelyn's younger sister, Jade Wagon, was also found dead in January 2020, a year after Jocelyn and Perez were found. In March 2020, a coroner ruled that Wagon’s death was accidental, caused by hypothermia and exposure. According to the Casper Star Tribune, a warrant had been issued in connection to Jade’s death, but no arrests were made.

“I know my daughters live with me; they live in my heart,” Wagon told the outlet. “I gave them life ... but it’s not easy. You get back up, and you keep going.”

Since the tragic deaths, Wagon noted, she continues to seek justice for her children and make sure people know their “lives counted and mattered” even as she helps other families going through the same pain.

“Yes, I’ve lost two,” Wagon said. “But I’m marching, I’m advocating, I meet with many different political figures, leaders of my tribe, and pushing for victims advocate positions.”

A recent Wyoming Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Task Force report noted Indigenous people in the state comprise 3 percent of the population but make up 14 percent of missing persons and 21 percent of homicide victims.

“I’m going to keep putting their faces out there,” Wagon said. “You’re going to look. They had a face, they had a life, and you had no right to take it.”

Anyone with information regarding the deaths of Jocelyn Watt, Jade Wagon, or Rudy Perez, is asked to contact the Riverton Police Department at 307-856-4891, or anonymously at 307 857-7755.

This article was originally published on 11/17/21 and updated on 11/22/22.

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