Late Actress Misty Upham's Cause of Death Revealed; Questions Still Remain

Coroners say that Upham died of blunt force wounds, but cannot say whether her fatal plunge from a 150-foot cliff was accidental.

The King County (Washington) Medical Examiner has determined that late actress Misty Upham, Blackfeet, died of blunt force wounds to her head and torso. Famous for her performances in Frozen River and August: Osage County, Upham disappeared on the Muckleshoot Reservation on October 5; after a search by family and friends, her body was discovered near the White River on October 16.

Upham's fatal wounds resulted from a fall off a cliff to the ravine some 150 feet below

The Medical Examiner's Office stated that while the cause of her death is now known, the manner is not. This means that the question of whether Upham committed suicide, which has lingered over this entire episode from the start, nearly two months ago, still has no official answer. Upham's October 5 disappearance, and death, occurred the same day as Auburn, Washington, police responded to a report that she was suicidal.

When the news broke that Misty had gone missing, her father, Charles Upham, made public statements that seemed to indicate he suspected suicide, but he later said he did not believe she was suicidal. Actress Juliette Lewis, a friend of Misty's, tweeted that she was sure the actress' death was not a suicide. After Misty's body was found, Charles Upham stated that he believed his daughter's death was an accident.

But a Reuters report states that "because the events leading to her fall remain unclear, coroners could not rule the death accidental."