Friends and family gather to celebrate Rosenda Strong’s 32nd birthday on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, at Yakamart, 111 Fort Road in Toppenish, Wash. Strong was last seen on Oct. 2 after visiting Legends Casino with a friend in Toppenish.

This list includes Native women and girls who have gone missing, whose murders remain unsolved and who have died in mysterious circumstances on or around the Yakama reservation, along with deaths of Yakama Nation women and girls in urban areas and other states.

Compiled from Yakima Herald-Republic archives, law enforcement, online and social media sources, this list is not complete and is updated as new information becomes available.

Email Tammy Ayer at tayer@yakimaherald.com if you have filed a report with a law enforcement agency about a missing person and would like to add your loved one to this list, or would like to add other information or names that should be included.


  • Alillia “Lala” Minthorn, 25, of Toppenish has been missing since May 5. She has tattoos on the right side of her neck and the left side of her chest, and a scar under her chest tattoo. Those who have seen her or know where she is are asked to call the Yakama Nation Police Department at 509-865-2933, case number 19-004114.
  • Rosenda Strong, 31, was last seen Oct. 2, 2018, leaving Wapato in an older Nissan car for a trip to Legends Casino in Toppenish. If you have any information, call the FBI at 509-990-0857 or the Yakama Nation Police Department at 509-865-2933, case number 18-010803.
  • Freda Knows Gun, 34, was at the Walmart in Kennewick in early October 2016 when she called a friend in Montana for an online money transfer. She had promised to return to Crow Agency to take her children trick-or-treating. She never collected the money. Those with information should contact the Bureau of Indian Affairs at 406-638-2631.
  • Rosalita “Rose” Longee, 18, went missing from Wapato on June 30, 2015, notes information at The Charley Project. The Charley Project, founded in 2004, has details on hundreds of missing persons cases from throughout the country. Longee left her residence after an argument and has never been heard from again, according to the website.
  • Roberta Jean Raines, 37, was last seen in 2002 with a man who has told authorities that he last saw her in Mexico. Her missing person case remains open with the Toppenish Police Department.
  • Daisy Mae Tallman, 29, went missing Oct. 29, 1987. Her backpack and keys were found out by Soda Springs, on land northwest of White Swan in a closed, remote area of the reservation.
  • Karen Louise Johnley, 29, was reported missing in November 1987. Her name was on a reward list circulated by a local group called Yakamas for Justice and by tribal police. She was last seen by a friend at the Lazy R Tavern in Harrah.
  • Janice Marie Hannigan, 16, went missing after she was discharged from the hospital on Christmas Eve 1971 for treatment of numerous bruises on her head and chest. See her case at The Charley Project website.

Mysterious deaths

  • Angela Babette Billy, 41, of Pendleton, Ore. Her body was found in late May 2013 in the Umatilla River near Mission. She had been missing for about a week. She was found by two people on horseback while they were conducting a private search for her. The area was accessible only by foot, horse or four-wheelers, from one side of the river.
  • Skeletal remains of an unidentified Native woman found in late 2008 in a remote part of the Yakama reservation. In the spring of 2009 FBI agents were awaiting mitochondrial DNA test results on the remains, which they said may be those of Daisy Mae Tallman. But the FBI lab determined there was insufficient evidence to conclude the remains were Tallman’s, and the FBI will not release further information on the remains.
  • Alice Ida Looney, 38. She was reported missing after she was last seen in Wapato in the early morning hours around Aug. 16 or 17, 2004. A hunter found her body Nov. 30, 2005, wedged under a tree on a small island in Satus Creek, about 12 miles southeast of Toppenish. The FBI lists the cause of her death as inconclusive.
  • Teresa R. Stahi, 25. Her clothed body was pulled from a fish screen in a diversion canal off Toppenish Creek south of Granger on July 7, 1987. An autopsy concluded she drowned and had been in the water less than 12 hours. The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office said it ruled out foul play. However, an FBI memo listed Stahi’s case as a “mysterious death matter.”
  • Sara Dee Winnier, 24. She was found at 3:30 a.m. July 22, 1985, sitting upright in the driver’s seat of a burning car off McDonald Road about half a mile from U.S. Highway 97. Her body was badly burned and the coroner used dental records to identify her. Winnier lived in a remote part of the reservation and had worked at the Save More Grocery in Wapato after moving back to the area from California.
  • Celestine Spencer, 21, of Wapato. Spencer had been missing for about two weeks before her body was found Nov. 11, 1982, at the bottom of a gully in a field off McCullough Road along the north slope of Ahtanum Ridge.
  • Lesora Yvette Eli, 19. A farmer found her fully clothed body face down in a drainage ditch along Parton Road near Toppenish on Feb. 2, 1982. While the Yakima County Coroner’s Office listed the death as accidental drowning, FBI investigators in a memo that year described it as a possible homicide.
  • Sheila Pearl Lewis, 33, of Yakima. Her battered body was found Aug. 3, 1980, near Parker Dam south of Union Gap. She died of massive internal injuries, possibly as a result of being hit by a car or truck. She had been living in Yakima and worked for the state Department of Social and Health Services.

Unsolved homicides

  • Destiny Louise Lloyd, 23, of Wapato. She was reported missing on Christmas Day 2017 and her body was found four days later off Marion Drain Road near Harrah Road south of Harrah. She was a daycare worker at Legends Casino Hotel.
  • Minnie Andy, 31, of Wapato. Andy died from blunt force trauma to the head in July 2017 after being assaulted at 70 Egan Road in Wapato.
  • Linda Dave, 39. Dave’s body was discovered in February 2017 in the water beneath a bridge on U.S. Highway 97 near Toppenish. She had suffered a gunshot wound to her abdomen. Authorities confirmed her identity in March 2018.
  • Naoma Alexandra George, 33. A mother of eight, George was beaten to death in an alley in Wapato early on Oct. 15, 2013.
  • Charmaine Sanchey, 47, Toni Marie Green, 43, and Steve Alvarado, 52. Their beaten and stabbed bodies were found in a small trailer outside Toppenish on Jan. 16, 2003. Charmaine Sanchey’s brother, Arthur Joseph Sanchey, was the primary suspect, but was acquitted of charges in July 2004.
  • Barbara Celestine, 44. Celestine died Sept. 5, 2005, from blunt trauma to the head while at a house in the Apas Goudy housing project in Wapato.
  • Shari Dee Sampson Elwell, 30, of Wapato. Her sexually mutilated body was found Dec. 30, 1992, by a group of hunters northwest of White Swan in the closed and remote area of the Yakama reservation. Autopsy reports indicate she had been strangled. Elwell’s family reported not seeing her for weeks.
  • JoAnne Betty (Wyman) John, 44, of Wapato. Her skull and bone fragments were found Feb. 2, 1991, near Mill Creek southwest of White Swan. She was identified through dental records. The mother of 11 children, she had been listed as missing since Aug. 1, 1988. Coroner’s records list cause of death as “homicidal violence.”
  • Rozelia Lou (Tulee) Sohappy, 31, of Brownstown. Her partially clothed body was found March 13, 1989, in a remote ravine along the south slope of Ahtanum Ridge north of Brownstown. She was identified through dental records, and an autopsy concluded she had been strangled. She was last seen New Year’s Eve 1988.
  • An unidentified Native woman believed to be in her late 20s or early 30s. Skeletal remains were found Feb. 16, 1988, near Parker Dam. No cause of death has ever been determined, but the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office considers it a homicide and has requested that her remains be exhumed to extract DNA for possible identification.
  • Jenece Marie Wilson, 20, of Toppenish. Her partially clothed body was found Aug. 8, 1987, in a remote area near Cherry Hill. She died of a severe blow to the head. She was last seen four days earlier leaving a party near Granger to hitchhike to Sunnyside. Samuel Posada of Hermiston, Ore., was arrested in 2009 and was acquitted in late 2011.
  • Babette Crystall Greene, 26, of Toppenish. A citizen of the Warm Springs tribe in Oregon, her skeletal remains were found during the summer of 1987 off North Track Road near Wapato. Coroner’s records listed her death as “homicidal violence.”
  • Clydell Alice Sampson, 25, of Klickitat. Her skeletal remains were found by hunters Dec. 28, 1986, below Hambre Butte south of Granger. An autopsy conducted by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office determined she died of a shotgun blast to the head. She was last seen two years earlier.
  • Mavis Josephine McKay, 33, a citizen of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. She was found murdered in an irrigation ditch on Aug. 13, 1957, in Satus.

Yakamas in urban areas

  • Sandra Lee Smiscon, 45, died of gunshot wounds in 2003 in Seattle when a man apparently angered after someone nearby set off firecrackers pulled out his gun and fired, then walked away. She lived in and traveled between Seattle and Wapato.

Reach Tammy Ayer at tayer@yakimaherald.com or on Facebook.