TOPPENISH — A small gathering to remember a Native woman who was murdered is scheduled Sunday, a year to the day after remains found earlier in the month were identified as hers.
Family members and friends of Rosenda Sophia Strong will meet at Pioneer Park on South Elm Street, between West Second Avenue and West Third Avenue, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The event is open to the public, but those attending should wear a facial covering and stand 6 feet apart from others to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Strong’s sister, Cissy Strong Reyes, is organizing the memorial and will be giving out masks and hand sanitizer.
A 31-year-old mother of four, Strong went missing Oct. 2, 2018, after leaving Reyes’ house with an acquaintance to visit Legends Casino in Toppenish. Her remains were found in an abandoned freezer on July 4, 2019, less than 4 miles from Reyes’ house. They were positively identified July 12 through dental records.
“We have not be able to lay her to rest just yet, so this is our way of showing she still needs justice” and marking the one-year anniversary, Reyes said in a Facebook post.
Those with a missing loved one are invited to bring information about the missing person. Reyes will display posters of other missing and murdered Indigenous people and distribute flyers. She is not asking elders to come due to COVID-19, but Reyes and other family and friends will speak.
“We still have missing sisters and brothers I will not be quiet,” Reyes said.