The Suspicious and Tragic Death of Native American Actress Misty Upham

Last week, searchers found the body of Native American actress Misty Upham, who was last seen alive on October 5. Despite reports that Misty was suffering from depression and was suicidal and an official stance that the whole thing was probably an accident, her family and her friend Juliette Lewis believe there was more to it than that, with Lewis stating Upham had “known” enemies on the Muckleshoot Reservation.

On Friday, Upham’s family stated that they believed that Misty’s death was an accident—that she fell down a 150-foot ravine while fleeing from police who were attempting to carry out an “involuntary transport” to a hospital in light of her anxiety and bipolar disorder. They also stated that she was wary of police because of previous treatment, though they did not specify any particular incidents. The family believed she was suicidal because she had gone off her medication, but now they have changed their tune.

Juliette Lewis met Misty Upham on the set of August: Osage County and the two became friends. After it was announced that Upham’s body was found, Lewis posted a picture of the two of them to Instagram.

And then Lewis sounded off on Twitter, alluding to possible enemies that could have been responsible for the Upham’s death.

Lewis also retweeted a few of Upham’s tweets that may have alluded to threats she received and a potential fear for her safety.

(For the record, Upham seemed to be a supporter of PETA, so it’s not clear if the dead bird was targeted towards her or if she just found the bird barbarically tied up.)

As Washington Post points out, Upham’s family criticized the Auburn police department for not taking the investigation seriously when they first reported Misty missing, citing a long period of racial tension between Auburn police and the Muckleshoot Reservation:

The police department never convened a search party to look for Upham. Upham’s family and friends formed a search party, and they were the ones who found her in the ravine Thursday.

They never convened a search party in the 11 days Upham was missing. Obviously, Misty Upham was not wrong in being distrustful of Auburn police when she evaded them.

I doubt the Auburn police are even considering investigating the case as a murder, but the fact that they did not even bother to search for Upham makes it quite clear how little they cared in the first place.

Image via Getty.

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