Missing Yakama woman found dead, suspect charged with murder
BROWNSTOWN, Wash. — Authorities say a missing Yakama woman has been found dead and that the man suspected of killing her has been arrested.
Alillia “Lala” Minthorn, 25, was found dead in a remote area of the Yakama Nation Reservation on May 29, about a month after she was reported missing, according to federal court documents obtained by KAPP-KVEW.
An autopsy determined Minthorn had died of a gunshot wound to the head and that her death was a homicide, court documents said.
FBI investigators arrested 29-year-old Jordan Everett Stevens in connection with Minthorn’s killing. In July, Stevens was indicted for first-degree murder in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington.
Stevens and Minthorn are both enrolled members of the Yakama Nation, which is why the investigation was conducted by the FBI and why Stevens was charged in federal court, rather than in Yakima County Superior Court.
Minthorn was last seen in Toppenish on May 5, according to a missing persons poster on Facebook. A family member contacted Yakama Nation Tribal Police on May 9 to file a missing persons report, court documents said.
The family member told police Minthorn was seen getting into a car near a makeshift homeless encampment in Toppenish referred to as “the compound”.
In the weeks after Minthorn’s disappearance, the FBI spoke to one witness who declined to talk initially, but later contacted investigators out of fear for their safety.
The first witness told investigators they and a second witness were present the day Stevens shot and killed Minthorn in the hills north of Brownstown, a small unincorporated community between White Swan and Wapato.
The second witness told investigators the three of them were driving around on May 3 when they picked Minthorn up at “the compound”.
That witness goes on to say that Stevens drove to the hills, removed Minthorn from the car and shot her, according to court documents.
The group then allegedly went to the nearby “Brownstown Tavern.” An onlooker allegedly saw them cleaning and removing items from a blue Chevrolet Tahoe parked behind the tavern.
“[The first witness] appeared to be very upset and very scared, while [the second witness] appeared to be very drunk,” the onlooker told investigators in court documents.
According to court documents, the first witness had a finger injury from a previous altercation with Stevens that had been bleeding that day. The witness told investigators Stevens was concerned about their blood being found on Minthorn’s clothes.
After cleaning the car, the three allegedly returned to the scene of the crime to remove Minthorn’s clothing. The first witness went on to say in court documents that Stevens threatened to kill them if they said anything about what happened.
An initial search of the area in the hills north of Brownstown by FBI and tribal police was unsuccessful, but when they returned with the first witness in tow, they were able to show authorities where Minthorn’s body had been left.
The second witness told investigators they believe Stevens killed Minthorn in retaliation for her allegedly speaking to the “Feds” about something he and the first witness had done.
The witness went on to say while they didn’t know what had been done, they were under the impression that Stevens and the first witness planned to kill Minthorn, “because she ‘ratted’ on them or ‘snitched’ on them,” court documents said.
In court documents, investigators do mention an April 30 assault at “the compound” in which Stevens and the first witness were suspects, and where Minthorn was allegedly questioned by police. It’s unclear if this is the incident that the second witness is referring to or how the assault is related to Minthorn’s killing.
KAPP-KVEW contacted FBI officials for comment and clarification on this story. An FBI spokesperson provided the following response:
“I can confirm that the FBI arrested Jordan Stevens on July 8, 2019 pursuant to an arrest warrant issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. The indictment is available in PACER and I cannot comment beyond that indictment as this matter is ongoing.”
Stevens is being held in the Yakima County jail on a contract with the U.S. Marshall’s Service. He’s scheduled to appear next month in federal court.