Rosenda Sophia Strong’s 32nd birthday is Tuesday. Her older sister, Cissy Strong Reyes, will be thinking of her, as she has every day since she last saw her on Oct. 2.
“Happy birthday, baby sister. We all love you and miss you every day,” Reyes said. “This is not how we wanted to wish you a happy 32nd birthday.”
Strong had been staying at Reyes’ home in Wapato when she left Oct. 2 with a friend in an older Nissan car to visit Legends Casino in Toppenish. Strong left her car at Reyes’ home, where it remains.
Their brother, Christopher Strong, filed a missing person report the next day.
Since their sister disappeared, they have held vigils and a walk, participated in other public events for missing and murdered indigenous women and raised funds for a reward.
They are offering $1,000 for anyone who provides Strong’s location so they can bring her home. Find more information on the Facebook page, Help Us Find Rosenda Strong.
A mother of four, Strong is a citizen of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and a descendant of the Yakama Nation. She is 5 feet tall and 150 pounds.
Reyes has become increasingly outspoken about those she believes were involved in Strong’s disappearance, or were witnesses.
“You know who you are. (You’re) still walking the streets and my sister goes missing and the last ones she was around were her friends,” Reyes wrote. “(You) were last to see her alive. (You) were the last to hear her cries. (You) were the last to see her pain.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the Yakama Nation Police Department at 509-865-2933 or the FBI at 509-990-0857 regarding case number 18-010803.
“Please share the location of the whereabouts of Rosenda. She matters, no matter her struggles,” Reyes said. “She is a mother, sister, auntie, friend (and) relative to us, her family.”
Normally, Reyes would have a barbecue for Strong on her birthday. Instead Reyes and her cousin Roxanne White, an advocate for missing and murdered indigenous women and girls and their families, plan a birthday balloon release Tuesday to honor her. It will take place from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Yakamart, 111 Fort Road, Toppenish.
They also hope to hold a barbecue at Pioneer Park in Toppenish on April 27.
“We will not stop searching and asking,” Reyes said. “Happy birthday baby sister, wherever you may be or lay.”