Coroner’s Office Confirms Body of Native Actress Misty Upham Found
By Levi Rickert
Charlie Upham, father of the actress, was asked to identify his daughter’s body and he did so.
A search party discovered her purse, which contained her California driver license, about 1:00 p.m.–PDT Thursday afternoon within walking distance of the apartment Upham left on the evening of Sunday, October 5, 2014.
The three-person search and rescue party, which included her uncle, Robert Upham, then tied a rope to a tree to climb down a 150-feet ravine and discovered her body near the White River in Auburn, Washington. The two others in the search party were Robert J. Kennedy and Jeff Barehand.
The party then called 911.
Upham left her sister’s apartment on her own freewill and vanished into the night. Even though Upham’s family wanted the Auburn Police Department to exert more effort in finding her, the police department did not mount an effort in finding her since she left on her own freewill.
So the family mounted their own search and rescue parties find Upham. By Thursday some two dozen members of the American Indian community, including three tribal council members of the Muckleshoot Tribe, formed small groups to attempt to find her.
Misty Upham Confirmed Dead: Family Identifies Body, Meryl Streep and Melissa Leo Express Grief
By Scott Feinberg
Rector also indicated that the family is enraged at the Auburn Police Department for what they say is a lack of assistance in the search to locate Upham. "First and foremost," she told THR, "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."
There is apparently a history of hostility between the Auburn police and the Muckleshoot Reservation, on which several thousand Muckleshoot reside, that falls largely within Auburn. According to Rector, "Robert Upham led the search with the help of the Muckleshoot tribal community."
Auburn police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the hours after the news broke, there was a huge outpouring of grief via social media from Upham's friends, fans and colleagues. Additionally, The Hollywood Reporter has exclusively obtained comments from two of Upham's most prominent costars, August's Meryl Streep and Frozen River's Melissa Leo.
Streep, who played the matriarch of the family for which Upham served as a caretaker in August: Osage County, wrote, "So so sad to hear this news—all our thoughts are with her family and with her beautiful spirit." Leo, whose character collaborated with Upham's to smuggle illegal immigrants from Canada into America in Frozen River, wrote, "Such a loss... so sad, so so sad."
She called me "Grinch" and I called her "Grinchette," since she could be as contrary as I was. Good-bye, Grinchette.