Mural by Maddie Sanders. Courtesy of WSCADV>

Mural by Maddie Sanders. Courtesy of WSCADV>

No more stolen sisters: How WA is responding to missing and murdered Indigenous people

Across the state, 126 Indigenous people remain missing, with 31 having gone missing in King County.

May 5 marks Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Awareness Day, and 126 Indigenous people are missing across Washington state. Of that total, 34 are actively missing adult females; 31 are females ages 17 and under; 40 are adult males; and 17 are males ages 17 and under.

As missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) have been left invisible to law enforcement agencies across the country, grassroots organizations are calling for justice for MMIW at the local, regional and national level.

These grassroots efforts have turned May 5 into a National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The date also marks the birthday of 21-year-old Hanna Harris, who went missing and was found murdered in 2013 on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, located in Montana.

According to the nonprofit National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC), the murder rate of Native women is more than 10 times the national average on some reservations across the country, with disappearances and murders frequently connected to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking and sex trafficking. Gender-based violence is heavily intertwined with missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW).

Within King County, 31 Indigenous people remain missing, with 22 being women and 9 being men, according to Washington State Patrol.

“This long-standing crisis of MMIW can be attributed to the historical and intergenerational trauma caused by colonization and its ongoing effects in Indigenous communities stretching back more than 500 years,” according to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.

RAISING AWARENESS

On May 5, U.S. Attorney Nick Brown acknowledged Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day and relayed how the state and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are collaborating to build systems for tribal communities to rapidly report and seek assistance if a tribal member goes missing.

“Here in Washington, many of our tribal communities are completing their tribal community response plans to address this initiative. These plans set a framework so that the community and law enforcement can quickly respond if someone goes missing,” said Brown. “Our program coordinator has seen great progress on the plans, and in the months ahead will continue to expand the planning process to additional tribes.”

On that day, Deb Haaland, secretary of the interior, and Lisa Monaco, deputy attorney general, held a virtual event to highlight the Not Invisible Act Commission, which is a cross-jurisdictional advisory committee comprised of law enforcement, tribal leaders, federal partners, service providers, family members of missing or murdered Indigenous people, and survivors.

The Not Invisible Act Commission will make recommendations to improve intergovernmental coordination; to establish best practices for state, tribal and federal law enforcement officers; to increase resources for survivors and their families; and to combat the epidemic of missing, murdered and trafficked Indigenous people.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their community, but a lack of urgency, transparency and coordination have hampered our country’s efforts to combat violence against American Indians and Alaska Natives,” said Haaland. “As we work with the Department of Justice to prioritize the missing and murdered Indigenous people’s crisis, the Not Invisible Act Commission will help address the underlying roots of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples crisis by ensuring the voices of those impacted by violence against Native people are included in our quest to implement solutions.”

The Not Invisible Act Commission will identify, report, respond to and track cases of missing and murdered Indigenous people, as well as Indigenous human trafficking victims. The commission also plans to develop legislative and administrative changes necessary to use federal programs, properties and resources.

Additional commission goals include the consideration of issues related to the hiring and retention of law enforcement officers, coordinating tribal-state-federal resources to combat missing and murdered Indigenous persons and create human trafficking offices on tribal lands, and increasing information sharing with tribal governments on violent crime investigations and other prosecutions on Indigenous lands.

“The recommendations made by the NIA Commission have the potential to make historic steps forward to address and remove systemic barriers Indigenous women face in the United States,” said Lucy R. Simpson of the Navajo Nation, NIWRC Executive Director. “The formation of this commission has been much-anticipated and would not have been possible without the surviving families of MMIW, tribal leaders, longtime grassroots advocates, and sister organizations leading the charge to get this crisis recognized and addressed at the federal level.”

MISSING INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington is an organization that tracks missing and murdered Indigenous people. Below are some of the Indigenous women who went missing in King County.

Charmaine “CeCe” Michell

Charmaine “CeCe” Michell. Courtesy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington.

Charmaine “CeCe” Michell. Courtesy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington.

Charmaine went missing on May 3, 2022, and is 33 years old. At the time of her disappearance she was 5’5”, 120 pounds, and had black hair and brown eyes. She also has a tattoo that says 1 Life 1 Love. Charmaine was last seen in Seattle in a video from Pike’s Place Market. Contact Seattle P.D. at 206-625-5011 if you know her whereabouts.

Kaylee Mae Nelson-Jerry

Kaylee Mae Nelson-Jerry. Courtesy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington.

Kaylee Mae Nelson-Jerry. Courtesy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington.

Kaylee went missing on July 1, 2019, and is 23 years old. At the time of her disappearance she was 5’7”, 135 pounds, and had black hair and brown eyes. Contact Auburn P.D. at 253-931-3080 to report her whereabouts.

Edith “Margaret” Claver

Edith “Margaret” Claver. Courtesy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington.

Edith “Margaret” Claver. Courtesy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington.

Edith went missing on Nov. 27, 2009, and is currently 59 years old. Edith was last seen at the United Pentecostal Church in Renton. The following day a church employee found her union ID, keys, and a small amount of money, among other items, next to the building’s dumpster. Contact Renton P.D. at 425-430-7500 to report her whereabouts.

Ruthie Fawn Kindness

Ruthie Fawn Kindness. Courtesy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington.

Ruthie Fawn Kindness. Courtesy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington.

Ruthie went missing on Feb. 3, 2011, and is currently 31 years old. At the time of her disappearance she was 5’4”, 115 pounds, and had brown hair and eyes. Ruthie was last seen in Parkland near 126th Street South and Pacific Avenue. She was last spoken to from a phone in the Paradise Bowling Alley on Pacific. Contact Auburn P.D. at 253-931-3080 if you know where she is.

Alyssa Angelique McLemore

Alyssa Angelique McLemore. Courtesy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington.

Alyssa Angelique McLemore. Courtesy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington.

Alyssa went missing on April 9, 2009, and is currently 34 years old. At the time of her disappearance, she was 5’2”, 130 pounds, and had black hair and brown eyes. Alyssa was last seen in Kent near 30th Avenue South and Kent-Des Moines Road. A witness saw a green 1990s model truck with a Caucasian driver who was in his 50s or 60s at the time. The following day, dispatch received a call regarding a woman needing help from Alyssa’s cell phone. Contact Kent P.D. at 253-856-5800 if you know her whereabouts.

Reba Ramona Stewart

No photo is available for Reba Ramona Stewart. Courtesy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington.

No photo is available for Reba Ramona Stewart. Courtesy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington.

Reba went missing on Aug. 15, 1982, and is 86-years-old. At the time of her disappearance, she was 5’3”, 130 pounds, and had black hair with brown eyes. She also has a distinguishing scar on her upper back and ankle, and wears dentures. Reba was reported missing by her sister, and her husband believed she left him and moved to Canada. Contact King County Sheriff’s Office at 206-293-4155 if you know her whereabouts.

Linda Louise Jackson

Linda Louise Jackson. Courtesy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington.

Linda Louise Jackson. Courtesy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington.

Linda went missing on May 3, 1983, and is currently 58 years old. At the time of her disappearance she was 5’6”, 110 pounds, and had black hair and brown eyes. Linda was last seen in Seattle, and it is believed that she was being sex trafficked when she disappeared. Contact King County Sheriff’s Office at 206-293-4155 if you know her whereabouts.

Lamikah Lozier

Lamikah Lozier. Courtesy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington.

Lamikah Lozier. Courtesy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington.

Lamikah was reported missing on March 21, 2022, and is currently 16 years old. During the time of her disappearance, she was 5’4”, 120 pounds, had black hair with blue highlights, and brown eyes. Contact the King County Sheriff’s Office at 206-296-4155 if you know her whereabouts.

Odessa White

No photo is available for Odessa White. Courtesy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington.

No photo is available for Odessa White. Courtesy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington.

Odessa went missing on Jan. 22, 1998, and is currently 42 years old. At the time of her disappearance, she was 5’6”, 160 pounds, and had brown hair and eyes. She was last seen in Seattle. Contact Seattle P.D. at 206-625-5011 if you know her whereabouts.

Carlotta Marie Sanchez

Carlotta Marie Sanchez. Courtesy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington.

Carlotta Marie Sanchez. Courtesy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington.

Carlotta went missing on Jan. 1, 1979, and is currently 55 years old. At the time of her disappearance she was 5’6”, 110 pounds, and had black hair and brown eyes. Contact Seattle P.D. at 206-625-5011 if you know her whereabouts.

Dakota Beaston

Dakota went missing on April 4, 2022 at the age of 14. Contact Seattle P.D. at 206-625-5011 to report any information.

Aniya Brown

Aniya went missing on March 7, 2022 at the age of 17. Contact Auburn P.D. at 253-931-3080 to report any information.

Logan Castro

Logan went missing on April 21, 2021 at the age of 35. Contact Seattle P.D. at 206-625-5011 to report any information.

Desirae Clough

Desirae went missing on April 2, 2022 at the age of 21. Contact Seattle P.D. at 206-625-5011 to report any information.

Teresa Davis

Teresa went missing on November 1, 1973 and is currently 66 years old. Teresa is believed to be endangered. Contact King County Sheriff’s Office at 206-296-4155 to report any information.

James Doake

James Doake went missing on April 25, 2022 and is 55 years old. Contact Auburn P.D. at 253-931-3080 to report any information.

Helena Gamet

Helena went missing on March 24, 2022 and is 16 years old. Contact King County Sheriff’s Office at 206-296-4155 with any information.

Lawayish Getahun

Lawayish went missing on April 24, 2022 and is 54-years-old. Contact Kent P.D. at 253-856-5800 to report information.

Peter Gray

Peter went missing on July 1, 1992, and is 62 years old. Contact Seattle P.D at 206-625-5011 to report information.

Raymond Hopper

Raymond went missing on March 16, 2022, and is 14 years old. Contact Auburn P.D. at 253-931-3080 to report information.

Kayli Leonard

Kayli went missing on Jan. 1, 2022, and is 17 years old. Contact King County Sheriff’s Office at 206-296-4155 to report any information.

Lorelee Lhotka

Lorelee went missing on Jan. 1, 1975, and is currently 66 years old. Contact King County Sheriff’s Office at 206-296-4155 to report information.

Elsie Luscier

Elsie went missing on Jan. 1, 1979, and is currently 56 years old. Contact Seattle P.D. to report any information.

Ramon Medina

Ramon went missing on Dec. 15, 2021, and is 45 years old. Contact Seattle P.D. to report any information.

Alicia Miller

Alicia went missing on Sept. 1, 2021, and is currently 15 years old. Contact Auburn P.D. to report information.

Kaetau Old Horn

Kaetau went missing on April 29, 2022, and is 16 years old. Contact King County Sheriff’s Office to report any information.

Victoria Paraoan

Victoria went missing on April 27, 2022, and is believed to be endangered. She is 34 years old. Contact Port of Seattle P.D. at 206-787-3490

Octavio Petersen-Zambrano

Octavio went missing on March 18, 2022, and is 16 years old. Contact Seattle P.D. to report any information.

Jazzlynn Richmire

Jazzlynn went missing on July 14, 2021, and is 16 years old. Contact King County Sheriff’s Office to report information.

Anthony Sam

Anthony went missing on April 17, 1996, and is 55 years old. Contact King County Sheriff’s Office to report any information.

Dustin Wyena

Dustin went missing on Oct. 17, 2021, and is 42 years old. Contact Renton P.D. to report information.


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