Murdered, missing and mysterious deaths of Native girls and women on or near the Yakama Reservation

By Tammy Ayer

Murdered, missing and mysterious deaths of Native girls and women on or near the Yakama Reservation:

This list, compiled from Yakima Herald-Republic archives, law enforcement, online and social media sources, is not complete. Email Tammy Ayer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 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.

Missing

• Tiana Cloud, 17, went missing from Yakima on April 7, according to information on the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children website.

• Isabel Zaragoza, 17, went missing from Yakima on March 26 and is also on the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children website.

• Daisy Tallman, 29, went missing Oct. 29, 1987, and seven years later was presumed dead by the Yakima County Coroner’s Office.

• Karen Johnley, reported missing sometime in 1987. Her name was on a reward list circulated by a local group called Yakamas for Justice and by tribal police.

• Janice Hannigan, 15, went missing from Wapato on March 1, 1971.

Mysterious deaths

• Destiny 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.

• Alice Ida Looney, 39. She was reported missing on Aug. 16, 2004. A hunter found her body Nov. 30, 2005, wedged under a tree on a small island in Satus Creek, about 12 miles southwest of Toppenish.

• 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.”

• Celestine Spencer, 21, of Wapato. Spencer went 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 facedown 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

• Minnie Andy, 31, of Wapato. Andy died from blunt force trauma to the head in July 2017 after being assaulted at 70 Eagan 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 of this year.

• 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.

• Skeletal remains of an unidentified Native woman believed to be in her late 20s or early 30s. The 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.

• 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 member 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.

Source: YakimaHerald

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