Missing And Murdered Indigenous Cases That Deserve More Attention
Native American communities, and Indigenous women in particular, are the victims of assault, abduction, and murder at rates far higher than the national average.
Photo By: Olivia Lone Bear via Facebook
Photo By: U.S. Department of the Interior
Photo By: Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "Disappeared")
Photo By: Yurok Tribe via Facebook
Photo By: Central Consolidated School District
Photo By: Screenshots via KSL-TV
Photo By: Find Ashley Loring/HeavyRunner Facebook page
Photo By: FBI
Photo By: U.S. Department of the Interior
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
Native women who live on reservations face a murder rate that is as much as 10 times the U.S. average, and homicide is listed as the third leading cause of their deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
How can you help? If you have information about a missing or murdered Indigenous person, you can submit your tips to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Text BIAMMU and your tip to 847411, call 1-833-560-2065, or email OJS_MMU@bia.gov. Find more information at bia.gov.
Suspicious Death: Olivia Lone Bear
The body of Olivia Lone Bear, a North Dakota Indigenous woman, was found in a submerged vehicle nine months after she disappeared.
Read more: Still Unsolved: Olivia Lone Bear Found Dead In Submerged Truck After She Vanished In 2017
Unsolved Murder: Stacy Hill
Stacy Hill, a 17-year-old Red Lake Nation girl, was last seen alive in early September 2009, and her remains were located on Oct. 27 that year on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.
Read more: Questions Remain In 2009 Case Of High School Senior Found Dead On Minnesota Tribal Land
Missing: Pepita Redhair
27-year-old Pepita Redhair went missing from Albuquerque, New Mexico on March 24, 2020. Her family fears she may be a victim of human trafficking.
Read more: Have You Seen Pepita Redhair? Family Fears Navajo Woman Is A Human Trafficking Victim
Missing: Emmilee Risling
Emmilee Risling, an indigenous woman and mother, was last seen crossing a bridge in California’s Yurok Reservation in October 2021 and hasn’t been heard from since.
Read more: The Search For Missing Native Mom Emmilee Risling Continues
Murdered: Ashlynne Mike
On May 2, 2016, Ashlynne Mike and her 9-year-old brother, Ian, were playing together on the Navajo Indian Reservation in San Juan County when Tom Begaye Jr. — a man they didn’t know — drove up in a van and offered them a ride home. They accepted the offer and while Ian made it home safely, tragically, Ashlynne did not.
Read more: Navajo Nation Girl Assaulted, Killed After Man Kidnapped Her While She Was Playing
Murdered/Suspicious Death: Jocelyn Watt and Jade Wagon
In 2019, Jocelyn Watt, and her partner, Rudy Perez, both 30, were fatally shot in their Riverton home. A year later, Jocelyn's sister, Jade Wagon, was found dead on the Wind River Reservation.
Read more: Arapaho Mother Loses 2 Daughters 1 Year Apart: ‘They Had A Face, They Had A Life’
Missing: Ashley Loring HeavyRunner
In 2017, Ashley Loring HeavyRunner, a member of Montana’s Blackfeet Nation, expressed a desire to help spotlight the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous people across the United States and Canada. She then vanished and hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
Read more: Indigenous Student Ashley Loring HeavyRunner Still Missing
Suspicious Death: Ashlea Aldrich
On Jan. 7, 2020, Ashlea Aldrich, 29-year-old mother of two, was found in a farm field on the Omaha Indian Reservation. Her family is still searching for answers about what might have happened.
Read more: Family Claims FBI Botched Investigation Of Indigenous Woman’s Death
Missing: Mary Johnson
Mary E. Johnson, then 39, was last seen on Nov. 24, 2020, walking along Firetrail Road on the Tulalip Reservation. Johnson’s estranged husband contacted police and reported her missing on Dec. 9. Nobody has seen or heard from her since.
Read more: Family Seeks Answers In Case Of Missing Indigenous Washington Woman
Missing: Ida Beard
Ida Beard was last seen in El Reno, Oklahoma on June 30, 2015 after telling her mother she was going to visit a friend. Her disappearance has led to a law that aims to eliminate the disparity on the tribal, state and federal levels in how cases involving Indigenous people are coordinated and investigated there.
Read more: Oklahoma Tribal Citizen’s Disappearance Leads To Law In Support Of Indigenous Crime Victims