Rep. Newhouse ramps up efforts to establish MMIW task force in Central Washington

TOPPENISH, Wash. — Rep. Dan Newhouse is ramping up his efforts to establish a federal MMIW task force headquartered in Central Washington to address the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women.

“Unfortunately, we’re in the epicenter of this issues in the Pacific Northwest,” Newhouse said.

According to the latest report by Washington State Patrol, at least 34 indigenous people are currently missing out of Yakima County, including 13 juveniles reported missing within the past three months.

Newhouse said thanks to the persistence of families of missing and murdered indigenous women, they’ve been able to raise awareness and make things a little better with new laws, but they still have a ways to go.

In December, Newhouse met with Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland to ask him to establish an MMIW unit in Central Washington and invited him to visit the Yakama Reservation.

“I’m just really excited about the work that people do in the communities here and how we can amplify them and shine a light on the issues that they’re facing,” Newland said during a visit to the No More Stolen Sisters mural in Toppenish.

Newhouse and Newland met Tuesday with Yakama Nation Tribal Police and local advocates to discuss issues they face in dealing with the MMIW crisis. They also heard testimony from people whose loved ones have been murdered or have still yet to be found.

“It’s important to see that this is a crisis and in tribal communities that the most vulnerable people in our communities are being subjected to violence,” Newland said.

Newhouse said in addition to pushing for the MMIW task force, he’s also working on legislation that would help address understaffing and jurisdictional issues for tribal law enforcement agencies.

“The thing that I don’t want to have happen is that momentum be lost, so we’re going to keep pushing,” Newhouse said.

Since the beginning of February, at least 15 indigenous people have been reported missing out of Yakima County, including:

  • APRIL 2022
    • 21-year-old Aurora O. Hall-Wahsise was reported missing April 18, 2022. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#22-002512.
    • 14-year-old Mary A. Castillo was reported missing April 15, 2022. Anyone with information should contact the Yakima Police Department at 509-575-6200 and reference case#22Y011646.
    • 13-year-old Raymond J. Scott was reported missing April 14, 2022. Anyone with information should contact the Yakima Police Department at 509-575-6200 and reference case#22Y011489.
    • 28-year-old Tanya J. Miller was reported missing April 5, 2022. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#22-002307.
    • 17-year-old Sharday M. Colwash was reported missing April 2, 2022. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#22-002692.
  • MARCH 2022
    • 13-year-old Olivia S. Wyena was reported missing March 31, 2022. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#22-002041.
    • 13-year-old Latisha M. Bill was reported missing March 28, 2022. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#22-001961.
    • 13-year-old Evae Baeza was reported missing March 25, 2022. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#22-001873.
    • 17-year-old Theresa L. Yallup was reported missing March 22, 2022. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#22-001879.
    • 12-year-old Nellie L. Owens was reported missing March 15, 2022. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#22-001631.
    • 15-year-old Gracia Wolfe was reported missing March 4, 2022. Anyone with information should contact the Yakima Police Department at 509-575-6200 and reference case#22Y006657.
  • FEBRUARY 2022
    • 15-year-old Cynthia M. Umtuch was reported missing Feb. 21, 2022. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#22-001146.
    • 15-year-old Talan Goggles Obendorf was reported missing Feb. 16, 2022. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#22-000984.
    • 17-year-old Alberta F. Stahi was reported missing Feb. 16, 2022. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#22-001116.
    • 15-year-old Shylynn Lucei Cloud was reported missing Feb. 13, 2022. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#22-000956.

Investigators continue to look for other indigenous people who have disappeared from Yakima County in recent years and have cases dating back to 1971, including:

  • 2021
    • 15-year-old Eric Cloud-Washington was reported missing Nov. 22, 2021. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#22-007231.
    • 16-year-old Alisha Montez was reported missing Sept. 28, 2021. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#21-006058.
    • 18-year-old Clayton Gibson, Jr. was reported missing June 25, 2021. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#21-004012.
    • 17-year-old Raymond H. Watlamet was reported missing June 9, 2021. Anyone with information should contact the Yakima Police Department at 509-575-6200 and reference case#21Y020533.
  • 2019
    • 43-year-old Adam C. George was reported missing July 22, 2019. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#19-007228.
  • 2018
    • 28-year-old Elias C. Culps was reported missing Oct. 29, 2018. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#19-009167.
  • 2015
    • 25-year-old Rosalita F. Longee was reported missing Sept. 16, 2015. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#15-006682.
    • 41-year-old Earl N. Patrick was reported missing March 9, 2015. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#18-003294.
    • 31-year-old Justin L. McConville was reported missing Jan. 11, 2015. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#16-010019.
  • 2014
    • 64-year-old Anthony C. Peters was reported missing June 1, 2014. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#15-006132.
  • 2010
    • 59-year-old Ira Yallup Sr. was reported missing May 20, 2010. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#75515.
  • 2007
    • 59-year-old Michael E. Hansen was reported missing Nov. 4, 2007.  Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#1357790.
  • 2002
    • 40-year-old Roberta J. Raines was reported missing April 14, 2002. Anyone with information should contact the Toppenish Police Department at 509-865-4355 and reference case#17P2008.
  • 1996
    • 63-year-old Eleanor M. Trujillo was reported missing Feb. 1, 1996. Anyone with information should contact the Yakima Police Department at 509-575-6200 and reference case#97-0062.
  • 1994
    • 99-year-old Daniel T. Sampson was reported missing Oct. 30, 1994.Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#944028.
  • 1987
    • 63-year-old Karen M. Wallahee was reported missing Nov. 7, 1987. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#87-3486.
    • 64-year-old Daisey M. Tallman (Heath) was reported missing Oct. 29, 1987. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#87-3732.
  • 1984
    • 41-year-old Roland J. Spencer was reported missing May 25, 1984. Anyone with information should contact Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 and reference case#405273.
  • 1971
    • 67-year-old Janice Hannigan was reported missing March 1, 1971. Anyone with information should contact the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office at 509-574-2500 and reference case#17C00300.

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