The family of actress Misty Upham, who was found dead Thursday in a wooded area in a Seattle suburb, is lashing out at authorities over their handling of the case, The Washington Post reports.
Meanwhile, an actress who along with Upham was part of the award-winning ensemble cast of “August: Osage County” suggested that foul play was involved and said Upham feared she might be murdered, according to a CBS News story.
Upham’s cause of death remains under investigation, although a police spokesman said Thursday, “At this point we do not have any evidence or information to believe there is foul play.”
The body of Upham, 32, “was found at the bottom of a steep cliff in in a densely wooded area of Auburn, Wash., on Thursday, a spokeswoman for the family confirmed,” the Post story reports.
The actress “was first reported missing by her father on Oct. 6, a day after she was last seen leaving her sister’s apartment on the Muckleshoot Indian Reservation in Auburn,” the report notes. “At the time, police said that they did not consider Upham to be ‘endangered,’ nor did they consider her disappearance to be suspicious.”
Upham’s body was reportedly found by a search party made up of her friends and family members. Tracy Rector, a family friend who has been acting as a spokesperson for the family, indicated that the family is convinced authorities didn’t do enough.
“The family pleaded for the police department to look for her; they pleaded for dogs,” Rector said today in an interview with The Post, in which she noted ongoing tensions between police and residents of the Muckleshoot Reservation.
“Unfortunately, it feels like 1950s racism in many ways,” Rector said in the interview. “The family is concerned that Misty was considered just another Native person and treated as such. Even that is unacceptable. Native lives matter. It doesn’t matter what her skin color was.”
Auburn Police Commander Steve Stocker acknowledged that his officers did not put together a search party for Upham, The Post notes. But he added: “We felt like we put effort into it; the family obviously doesn’t believe that the efforts were enough but we handled it as we felt was appropriate.”
Meanwhile, CBS News reports that actress Juliette Lewis, who worked with Upham in “August: Osage County,” took to Twitter to express her views on the case, tweeting: “#RIPMistyUpham I am in shock and greif. I pray the police do a murder investigation. They’re saying not ‘foul play’ when ofcourse it is.”
In a subsequent tweet, Lewis wrote: “Misty told me about horrible violence she suffered on NA reservations She felt she coul be murdered! Bcuz she was vocal #ThisIsNOTaSUICIDE”