A body found by the White River near the Muckleshoot Reservation in Washington state has been identified as Blackfeet actress Misty Upham. The body was discovered by a three-person search team, and without the help of Auburn police.
The searchers were Misty's cousin Robert Upham, Robert Kennedy, and Jeff Barehand, and the body was identified by Misty's father Charles. Filmmaker Tracy Rector spoke with The Hollywood Reporter after the news broke on Thursday.
"First and foremost," Rector said, "the family wants everyone to know that the Auburn police did not help with this situation at all. They refused to help. When she disappeared on Oct. 5, the family knew something was seriously wrong—it was out of character for her to be gone so long without being in touch—and they repeatedly went to the police, who insisted there was no cause for concern."
Rector told Deadline that "there’s a long history of police harassment and friction between the police and the Muckleshoot community here, and her family feels they dropped the ball and Misty perhaps would have been found if the police had taken it seriously."
Rector also addressed the possibility that Upham's death was a suicide. "The family has stated that, after seeing the body, they still do not feel that Misty Upham committed suicide," she said.
Upham was best known for her performances in the films Frozen River, Jimmy P., and August: Osage County.