All Episodes

June 8, 2023 41 mins

In October of 2014, 32-year-old Native American actress Misty Upham went missing. Local police refused to investigate her disappearance. So community members formed a search party, and found her body in a ravine 11 days later. What happened to Misty Upham? And why didn't authorities act? We talk with Jim Trainum, retired MPD homicide detective and investigative consultant.

See for privacy information.

Mark as Played

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:03):
You're listening to Facing Evil, a production of iHeartRadio and
Tenderfoot TV. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast
are solely those of the individuals participating in the show
and do not represent those of iHeartRadio or Tenderfoot TV.
This podcast contains subject matter which may not be suitable
for everyone. Listener discretion is advised.

Speaker 2 (00:26):
Hi, everyone, welcome back to Facing Evil. I'm Vet gent
Lay and I'm Roschia Pecquerrero.

Speaker 3 (00:33):
This week we are talking about the shocking death of
Misty Upham, a thirty two year old Indigenous actress whose
star was on the rise in Hollywood.

Speaker 2 (00:43):
Misty was in movies like august Osage County, Jango, Unchained,
and Frozen River. She also appeared in TV shows like
Big Love, and she was applauded as an Indigenous woman
for achieving a measure of mainstream success.

Speaker 3 (01:00):
Yes, but her personal story reveals a life full of tragedy,
including sexual violence, racial prejudice, and mental illness. There were
signs for months that Misty was in crisis, but even
as a burgeoning movie star, she was unable to get
the help that she's so desperately needed. After she died,

actors like Juliette Lewis, were outspoken in their rage about
this tragic loss, which they insist was completely preventable. But
the real question is how did Misty slip through the cracks.
Today we're talking once again with our friend Jim Trainham,
a private consultant and former detective with the Metropolitan Police Department. Yes,

but now our producer Trevor is going to walk us
through today's case.

Speaker 4 (01:51):
Missy Upham has been found now official say a family
member found her along a river near Seattle.

Speaker 5 (01:57):
Upham was reported missing by our family October sixth Her
father said the star was suicidal. Her dad also said
Missy had stopped taking medication for anxiety and bipolar disorder
before she disappeared.

Speaker 3 (02:08):
When I found acting, I found home, and it was
like a home that nobody could.

Speaker 4 (02:13):
Take away from me.

Speaker 1 (02:15):
Misty Upham was a thirty two year old woman who
was found dead at the bottom of a ravine in Auburn, Washington,
on October sixteenth, twenty fourteen. She had disappeared eleven days earlier.
Misty was a Native American actress, well known for roles
in films like Django. Unchained in august Osh County, she

was also a member of the Blackfeet Nation tribe in Montana.
Misty was born in nineteen eighty two to Charles and
Mona Upham. The family moved back and forth for years
on and off the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana. Her father, Charles,
was determined to get his children away from the reservation,
which he viewed as a dead end. In addition to

frequently moving, Misty experienced descript nation. One best friend was
once forbidden from playing with her after her parents learned
she was Native. On the reservation, Misty was frequently jumped
and beat up for having more money than other kids.
At age thirteen, she was gang raped on the reservation
and began to suffer panic attacks. She was prescribed psychiatric medication,

but she abused it and began abusing alcohol as well.
She also began cutting herself and considered suicide. Despite these
considerable hardships, Misty had ambitious dreams. She wanted to act,
and she got her start in a nonprofit youth theater
group for Indigenous kids. Misty Starr began to rise in
earnest in the early two thousands with an appearance in

the film Skins. She went on to appear in more
TV movies and shows, including Big Love and the aforementioned
Django Unchained. In twenty thirteen, she landed a role as
a housekeeper in august Osage County. This role threw her
in with the star studded cast that included Meryl Streep,
Julia Roberts, and George Clooney, but her hardships continued at

the Golden Globe Awards. Earlier that year, she was allegedly
raped by a Weinstein Company executive in a bathroom. She
did not report the rape because she feared retribution from
the company and the industry. The next year, she moved
from California to Washington State to help care for her
father after he suffered a stroke. In Washington that summer,

Misty had a hard time re establishing her psychiatric care
and relied on the er of her treatment for her
depression PTSD and bipolar disorder. As the summer wore on,
her mental state declined. She experienced several breakdowns during which
her family had to institutionalize her involuntarily. During one such incident,
police officers mocked her claims of being a Hollywood actress.

On October fifth, twenty fourteen, Misty was in a bad state.
Fearing for her safety, her father called nine one one.
She saw this and fled the house. Charles up and
ran after her, but was stopped by arriving police, who
insisted on searching the house, even as he told them
she'd fled. The cops refused to search for Misty outside

the house, saying they had to wait until she'd been
missing for at least twenty four hours. After the fact,
the police commander said that this was not at all
their policy. The next day, Charles reported Misty missing. The
detective assigned to the case repeatedly refused to organize a search, saying,
according to Charles, quote, she's probably off partying somewhere. Six

days later, on October thirteenth, the detective in charge wrote
to an officer asking about the outcomes of the search results.
She responded, quote outcome, nothing has been done yet. And
then three days later, a volunteer search team organized by
the family discovered Misty's body in a steep ravine near
the apartment where she'd been staying. The volunteer party, all

indigenous individuals, said the police did not think or help them.
Police eventually found no evidence of foul play, and the
family believed that she slipped and fell into the ravine
while fleeing her home. The circumstances surrounding the investigation into
Misty Upham's disappearance caused an uproar and drew attention to
a larger problem. At the time of her disappearance, she

was just one of thousands of missing Indigenous women in
North America. And so what happened to Misty Upham, why
did the police ignore her disappearance? And how does the
story reflect the need for better resources in cases of
missing or murdered Indigenous women.

Speaker 2 (06:35):
Well, we have a lot to talk about with the
case of Misty Upham, and to help us work through this,
we are very excited to welcome back Jim Trainham. He
is a private consultant and a former detective with the
Metropolitan Police Department. Thank you again for coming on.

Speaker 4 (06:55):
I'm glad to be here. So whatever insight I can offer,
I'm happy to do it.

Speaker 2 (07:00):
Well, you know, before we get into the case, can
you tell us a little bit about you know, what
you've been working on. We know that you just finished
Freeway Phantom, which is you know out and it's an incredible,
incredible podcast. I recommend all of our listeners to download
that particular podcast, but talk about that or tell us

what you're doing.

Speaker 4 (07:21):
Yes, there's a couple of podcasts that I have been
involved in trying to help get information out about older
cases like the Freeway Fanom and all of that. And
the Freeway Fanom case itself had some similarities with this
case and that it involved you know, African American girls
and back in the seventies, and the police response was

actually pretty slow at first for many reasons. One is
the department was occupied with anti war demonstrations back during
the Vietnam War. Watergate was you know, happening, so resources
kept getting pulled off. But also these case at first,
we're just not given the priority that we have come

to learn is necessary. And so when you look at
these old cases, you're not only you know, looking at
them with an eye towards trying to solve them, but
you're also highlighting some of the problems that they existed
back then. But many of them still exist today. It's
important that we try to learn from our mistakes and

get better at what we do. But oftentimes, because law
enforcement is so fragmented in this country that it's difficult
to get the message out there, especially to like some
of the smaller departments that don't have the resource right
of large ones as well.

Speaker 6 (08:44):
That's so true, Jim.

Speaker 3 (08:45):
And you know, with Freeway Phantom, that's back in the seventies,
but Misty Upham was much more recent. But she was
also a person of color who was overlooked. Like, what
were your first impressions or reactions when learning about Misty's case?

Speaker 4 (09:02):
Just that it's and this is going to be depressing,
is that this is not a typical type of case.
It's not one that stands out as being all that unusual.
You see cases like this or cases that have these
components occur all the time, and oftentimes it's it's because
of the way the system works or doesn't work. It's

our own biases that we bring to the table when
we're trying to make decisions, and you know, just people
become defensive rather than say, yeah, we made a mistake,
this is what we need to do or you change
that sort of thing. So, you know, that's that's what
really kind of struck me, not only the things about
it that you can say are unusual, but just how

usual this case is.

Speaker 2 (09:50):
It's so true, you know, I always familiar with the
case because you know, there was a few movies that
I loved, which was Frozen River. So I was familiar
with who she was, and I loved her her subtlety
of acting. Did you know about this case? Like, how
familiar were you with this case?

Speaker 4 (10:12):
I wasn't familiar with it at all until you reached
out to me and I started looking over some of
the material right there. So a lot of these cases
don't get out into the public unless her background in
movies and all of that that made it more interesting
to some people. You know, when I started looking into it,
one of the things that really struck me was how

self aware Misty was of her problems. Yeah, she recognized
that she definitely had mental health issues, she knew where
they came from, she wanted help. But when she spiraled
out of control, of course, that's when her rational side
was lost, and so you know, that's what they were

having to deal with. The Other thing is is that,
you know, just the issue with mental health in this country.
You know, law enforcement agency is are foundly saying, no,
this is something that we really can't handle. I mean,
we're ill equipped to handle, right, and yet it's forced
upon us all the time. Oftentimes, like in this case,
you know, you get a call, you get there, you're

supposed to handle it quickly and move on to the
next call, and cases like this you can't handle quickly now.
But just the fact that you know, she wanted help
and they went to get her help, and because of
the funding that was available to her, she was put
off for months. And just from my own experience, when

somebody who has mental health issues when they say I
want help, they need it, then it has to happen then, yeah,
because they're not in a position where they can put
it off. They're ready now. And so that's one of
the biggest obstacles that we really need to overcome, that
when you're ready, it has to be there. Her having

to rely on emergency room care for her mental health treatment,
that was far from the best. Yeah. And then, like
I said, law enforcement officers being called to come in
and step into a situation that they're ill prepared for,
and that their response is Okay, snatch her up, get
her to the hospital. Oh no, she's kicked out again.

Here we go again, you know that sort of thing.
So they become callous.

Speaker 3 (12:26):
Yeah, yeah, I think that's an interesting word that you chose, Jim, Like,
you know, I put myself in that position, and I
never had or have had mental health issues the way
that Misty was open about having. But I myself have
definitely been through PTSD and trauma. But I was fortunate
and am fortunate enough to be in therapy. I was

in trauma therapy, you know, after witnessing a traumatic death
on board as a flight attendant. And I remember going
through that intensive therapy and counseling and thinking, oh my god,
I wish every single person who had ever been through
any type of trauma could go through this so that
you have tools to use.

Speaker 6 (13:06):
When you get into those dark, dark places.

Speaker 3 (13:09):
And you're so right, Like mental health it needs to
be available to everyone. And police officers they're not trained
in that, yep. And that's that's not their fault, but
that's definitely something we need to take a step towards
or getting people who are trained in mental health to
maybe go on these calls with police officers. I don't
know what the answer is.

Speaker 4 (13:29):
I'm just well, at least have a resource that you
can call, Yeah, have somebody you can reach out to
and say this is my situation, you know, what do
I do right?

Speaker 6 (13:38):
Who do I talk to?

Speaker 4 (13:39):
Right? Help me walk through this. I just remember decades ago,
back during my paramedic days.

Speaker 6 (13:45):
Oh you were a paramedic.

Speaker 4 (13:46):
I worked as a firefighter paramedic for Arlington County for
many years, which is right next to d C.

Speaker 1 (13:51):
Oh wow.

Speaker 4 (13:52):
And you know, having people with mental health issues who
would repeatedly call for medical services and then trying to
set up something so that they wouldn't have to call
nine one wife, so that they had something in place.
I just remember being from the phone for hours, getting
bounced from one to the other. It's somewhat better now,

but still, you know the law enforcement officer, he's out there,
he's basically told you got to handle this situation quickly.
And just looking at the annual report of this department,
they are a small agency now. It does not excuse
many things that happened in his face. It does not
excuse like when that one time when she had a

crisis and she was taken into custody, the officer taunting her. Yeah,
it doesn't excuse the fact that when the complaint was
initially made, the department responded, oh no, we responded appropriately
and compassionately and yet later on when it's under invest
further investigation, the officer admitted that, yeah, I did that,

but of course the excuse that he gives is that
he was trying to shake her out of it or whatever,
you know, that sort of thing.

Speaker 2 (15:24):
You know, Rassia, you know, you were very fortunate to
have all the resources, like you said, but there are
so many that don't have any resources or anyone to
reach out to. And then if the nine to one
one you know, is called the police come and these
people are having manic episodes or they're gonna end up

going to jail, not to er first, and that's a
whole nother experience in itself.

Speaker 4 (15:51):
Right. Our first step is to control, you know, we're
going to bring the situation under control. And the way
that we control things is through four and through incarceration.
And once the person gets incarcerated for something like this,
then you know, they have that stigma. Yeah, so can incarceration,
even you know, for minor things, can cause them to

maybe lose a job, lose health insurance, So it's a
downward spiral.

Speaker 2 (16:17):
Yeah, but I do appreciate you saying that, you know,
police officers are just they're not equipped to handle that
type of situation. So, you know, because we have a
lot of police officers in our family and they're amazing
human beings, but there comes a time, you know, where
you need other parties to come in and handle these

particular situations. So again, we've come a long way, but
we still have such a long way to go.

Speaker 4 (16:47):
And like you said, this wasn't all that long ago. No,
I haven't been able to pull up anything on the
departments current policies in reference to missing persons or mental
illness and all that. But going through like their twenty
eighteen annual report, there was really nothing in there about,
you know, them handling this. So four years later after

this happened, you know, they hadn't really made any public
adjustments to deal with situations like this, and you know,
hopefully by now they have been. But still, even if
you have processes in place, like supposedly they claimed they
did here about reporting missing persons, you know, the officer

first told the family that, oh, you can't report a
missing person for twenty four hours?

Speaker 6 (17:33):
Is that true?

Speaker 1 (17:34):

Speaker 3 (17:34):
I thought that wasn't even a that's not true. Yeah, okay, yeah,
I didn't think that was a real policy.

Speaker 4 (17:39):
And in fact over the last god, even before this occurred,
most agencies were saying, no, you take a missing person
report right away. Now, maybe it's because she didn't fall
into a neat box, okay, because she had just run
out of the home, right she was suicidal, she was
in a crisis, and yet technically she's not missing, you know,

could they have thought of it that way? But because
they classified it as a suicidal incident or whatever. But
a lot of agencies, my old agency as well, this
would have been classified as a critical missing.

Speaker 2 (18:15):
Person right because she.

Speaker 4 (18:18):
Which means you set up a command post, which means
you pull out the stops and you you know, get
out there and you start, you know, putting it out
on the news, and you start doing your searches and
things like that. I noticed that one of the criticisms
that the family had was that when the police first
arrived there, they you know, stop the father who was

trying to go after missing and then they searched the house.
And I'm going, well, why would they do that, right,
she's not house. The only thing I can think of
is that when it comes to like missing children, and
one of the first things that you do is you
actually search the house, because sometimes they're hiding in the
house or they've fallen us leap at a closet or

something like that, Right, And so maybe they were doing
it because they knew that she was in a crisis,
maybe she was in the house, whatever, They just want
to be sure, I mean, based on the scenario that
we have here, and I don't have a full understanding
because I don't know, like how close her body was
found to her house was far I believe, and so

the scenario that, yeah, she was trying to get away
and she went down there and fell, she might have been,
you know, dead by the time they found her if
they had continued to search. But you know, she might
not have been. We don't know the extent of her
injuries and things along that line, And.

Speaker 3 (19:38):
That's the question we're here to answer, right, I mean,
or at least what how could it have been prevented?

Speaker 6 (19:45):

Speaker 4 (19:46):
Well, the prevention part would have come through better services
for her to help her control her crisises. The other
part is is that if the police response wasn't to
take control, just get her to the hospital and that's it.
And the fact that she's learned from past experience, the

police aren't here to.

Speaker 6 (20:07):
Help me, right, That's why she ran.

Speaker 4 (20:09):
Right, So all of that combined, right, they're played a
part in this.

Speaker 3 (20:15):
Do you think a lot of it had to do
or at least some of it had to do with
the fact that she was indigenous?

Speaker 6 (20:21):
She was a Native American.

Speaker 3 (20:24):
And I'm not trying to say anything bad about the
Auburn police department, but I'm assuming there were tensions and maybe.

Speaker 6 (20:32):
That had something to do with it.

Speaker 3 (20:34):
I mean, Washington, Montana, the Dakota's I think there's a
lot of tension, if that's the politically correct thing to say.

Speaker 4 (20:42):
Well, there's a lot of mistrust because just the bad
experiences that they've had with contact with the police, and
if you don't respond well to the police, the police
are going to have a bias against you, and they
start looking at all of a certain class of people
the same way. Now, we all have our bias, right,
and we can recognize our bias and we can say

I am not going to let that impact the way
that I'm making a decision here, just by acknowledging it
at the time.

Speaker 1 (21:11):

Speaker 4 (21:11):
But yeah, just in cases that I have worked that
involved you know, reservations and you know Indian countries places
like that. In law enforcement, there is not much you know,
love between the groups right there.

Speaker 6 (21:25):
Yeah, our trust.

Speaker 2 (21:27):
You know. The thing about it is, I think that's
it's so sad and so disappointing is that she had
interactions with the police a few times, you know, because
her parents had call nine one one, you know, because
she was dealing with you know, mental health issues like
bipolar and you know, she had been abused, so she
had these episodes. So they already knew who she was.

Let's just say that, right. It's a small community, right,
But so now they get this call and like the
father said, you know she's not in the house, they
still go in the house and they won't do what
they're supposed to do. Now you got to think this
is like the third fourth time, and they know that
there's something wrong with her, but instead of being ill

equipped to handle it with compassion knowing that someone is
sick and needs help, therefore, they don't even go and
check to see if she's in the near vicinity. Nobody
really knows exactly what happened, but we do know that
she was found, you know, twenty five feet down this

ravine by her family members not by the police. They
didn't put anything out like on social media. And I
think that's what the family was so upset about, because
if it would have been the chief's daughter or someone else,
the mayor's daughter or someone else who was in a
higher status so to speak, they would have looked for

her or him.

Speaker 4 (22:55):
Oh absolutely, I mean the thing is, we deny that,
but if you just look at the response that law
enforcement gives to different types of cases involving different types
of people, we don't treat everybody equal across the board.
And there's lots of reasons for that, you know, but
you know, like I said, bias is one of them. Also,

public pressure, you know, the media oftentimes they won't publicize
these things, and it's a lot of times it's the
media that drives these investigations and drives you know, people
to go above and beyond. But here, you know, like
I said, they just have somebody here. We are again.
We took her into the hospital last time.

Speaker 1 (23:36):
Why is in the.

Speaker 4 (23:36):
Hospital keeping her? You know, she's out here again. And
so I can't say that they fell into that trap,
of course, because I don't know everything about the case,
but that is a trap that we do fall into.

Speaker 2 (23:48):
Yeah, it's it's unfortunate because I really think, you know,
if they would have taken the time to search you know,
this is just my opinion from you know, reading all
the details in the research, if they would have taken
the time to search for her, you know, if in
fact she fell down that ravine hit her head, she
could have been saved. But instead her body was there

for eleven days.

Speaker 4 (24:13):
That's a very rough place. It sounds like, i mean,
very hard to get to. They couldn't even get you know,
the medical examiner down there to view the body because
it is so rough and all of that. Yeah, but
her purse was visible, you know, once you got off
the road. You know. It's just like in the freeway
fantom case, right, like the second victim wasn't recovered, you know,
for days, even though they had reports of a body

off the roadside, simply because the officer didn't get out
of the car and go look over the guardrail.

Speaker 3 (24:43):
I mean, this is obviously far fetched. I just still
want to ask the question. We don't think the police
department was involved in any way in her death, right,
I mean, we don't think they were trying to cover
up anything. They would just probably got callous with the situation.

Speaker 4 (24:58):
You know, the only cover up was when they decided
that they weren't going to acknowledge their prior actions and
also acknowledge that they could have done things differently. Yeah,
that's the big problem, and that's really you know, the
takeaway from this is that cases like this we can
learn so much from. Yes, you know, one of the

things that law enforcement is encouraged to do these days
is old sentinel event reviews. So this is an event
that nobody wanted to happen. Of course, that's one thing
we can acknowledge. And it's not just a law enforcement's fault.
A lot of people involved. A lot of people made
decisions over a period of time that led to this.
So what we need to do is not look at

blaming this one officer and all that, but look at
the big picture and look at all the things that
contributed to this, not only the officers individual actions, but
the policies and procedures that were in place, their training,
what decisions or supervisors were made. In a lot of agencies,
the officers would been making these decisions, they would have

been made by a supervisor call to the scene, who
you know, like I said, set up a command post
and go from there. And it doesn't sound like just
you know, the officers kind of handled it and then
went off by themselves. Now. I know that there was
some talk about the FBI getting involved, because the FBI
does investigate crimes on the reservation, but they don't investigate

crimes off the reservation, and this wouldn't have fallen under
their jurisdiction. I know there was a question about suicide
versus accident. I had read something that the medical examiner
couldn't determine the cause of death, and there's kind of
a mix up there. In terminology, the cause of death
is like blunt force trauma, drownding, you know that sort

of thing. You know. The manner of death is like
you know, a homicide, suicide, accidental or unknown. And could
it be possible that she went down there and threw herself, Well,
I don't think the blood, you know, the medical zamber
is going to be able to say that, you know,
just based on the injuries themselves. Yeah, I think a

more likely scenario was that she was trying to hide
and she went into an area that was going to
be a great place to hide, and she just fell.

Speaker 2 (27:18):
Yeah, I guess that's what's you know, so hard to determine, Like,
I mean, I don't know because we I wasn't there,
But you know, when you think of a blunt force
trauma to the head, you don't know if that could
have happened before she fell, or if she actually, like
you said, just actually took a misstep.

Speaker 4 (27:39):
Yes, some people had come forward and said that she
had tried to get into a house where there was
a party and she had been beaten and killed there
a couple of things. I mean, she did have a
very high level of alcohol in her when she died.
What we don't know what her tolerance for alcohol was. Right.
The idea though, of her actually dying there and then

being transported to where she was found, that's a little harder,
simply because it's very hard to move bodies and getting
a body in that area through the brush. Because I
saw some of the pictures that they had of the
area and then you know all of that, that's a
lot of work. Yeah, I think if something like that happened,

she might have just been beaten and then took off
again and could have slipped and followed. But again, that's
something that can be followed up on. And if they
had looked upon it as a critical missing person, possibly
somebody would have come forward earlier and would have been
willing to cooperate. But it's my understanding that the person

who gave this information is not willing to talk about it.

Speaker 3 (28:50):
I have a question for you, Jim, what does determine
when a person is considered critical missing just.

Speaker 4 (28:57):
When they're at a danger to themsel else. Let's say
that somebody has dementia, they're out wandering the street, we don't.

Speaker 6 (29:04):
Know where they are, and they end up missing.

Speaker 4 (29:06):
Just a danger of them to themselves or others, but
mostly to themselves. And she was a danger to herself.

Speaker 2 (29:12):
Yeah, exactly if you look at everything that her parents
said and everything that she did, and she'd already had interactions,
like I said earlier, with the police a few times
like that is exactly what it should have been. It
was a call for help, but she didn't get that
help that she needed that I think could have prevented

this from happening.

Speaker 4 (29:35):
And a lot of times, I know my colleagues are
reluctant to go above and beyond just because they're afraid
of being criticized by their own you know, colleagues. But
you know you shouldn't have done that. You know, all
you're doing is making work for people. She would have
been fine that sort of stuff. You see, she is
fine here, she is. But you know, the safest way

would have been just I had treated this like a
critical missing person, call out the search TAE, you know,
like they were talking about. They didn't call canine because
canines are for criminals and not for missing persons, but
they would be for a critical missing person. Yeah, I
mean that could be a tool, you know, to help
track them down, you know, helicopters with with let's say,
heat sensing, whatever they have there these days, I help

to see through brush things along that line. You know,
all of that could have been done.

Speaker 3 (30:47):
There's so many things that we can go off on,
so many different tangents and talking about with you know,
with Misty's case, it just you know, it breaks my
heart because all I did, you know, the last few days,
was you know, watch different footage of Misty and who
she was as a human being, and she was a bright,
shining light. And I feel like I say that so

much with all of the people that we talk about
that are victims and whether or not Misty was murdered.
You know, she was a victim because she had lifelong
you know, childhood sexual abuse PTSD that she was open
about in addition to her you know, her mental health,
and of course that all affects her mental health and

not getting the help she needed. But you know, I'd
love to know what you think. I love how you
shared the takeaways with us, but I would love to
know what you think we can do moving forward to
help prevent this happening to the Misties of the world. Like,
is there more training that has to happen in the
police department.

Speaker 4 (31:50):
Yeah, and there's so many different agencies out there trying
different things. Yeah, it's going to take a major investment,
not only in money, but also you know, other recent sources,
a commitment from the agency to train their people and
make sure that they follow their training and that they
make use of these resources. And that's why, like I
had mentioned before, an unbiased review with all the stakeholders,

and the stakeholders in this case are also Missy's family.
Even though there is a policy or a procedure in place,
and this is the way we're taught to do things,
the agency needs to understand how the public perceives that
policy and procedure, and you know, do they perceive it

as Okay, you did right under the policy, But was
it the right thing to do. It's a big difference,
and too often we fall back on no, they follow
the proper policy. Well maybe they did to the letter,
but not the spirit.

Speaker 3 (32:49):
I love that, Jim, I love that, to the letter,
but not the spirit.

Speaker 2 (32:54):
If you could speak to the young men and women
who want to be police officers, what advice would you
give them going into the field, Like, what advice would
help them?

Speaker 4 (33:08):
I think one of the things that you have to
recognize is too often we fall into our own little cocoon.
We try to isolate ourselves and protect ourselves, and we
need to kind of expand our horizons beyond our coworkers
and so that we can, you know, better off understand

you know, different types of people, things along that line.
But the other thing is is we also have to
realize that it's so easy to pigeonhole people and pigeonhole neighborhoods.
Like I just remember, back when I was working a
series of gang homicides in this one neighborhood. Every body
that I personally dealt with was you know, either involved

in drugs, you know, selling drugs or murders and things
like that, And so we all kind of got the
attitude this is a neighborhood, you know, it was lost.
And it was one day when we were I was
out knocking on doors trying to do a canvas and
this woman opened her door and invited me in and
her family was in there, and they were the loveliest people.

And that made me realize that these people are the norm.
You know, they're not criminals, I mean, but they live
in this neighborhood. They're stuck in a bad situation. They're
dealing with it the best way we can, and you
know we're supposed to be there.

Speaker 3 (34:25):
To help them, right, that's the oath that you took, right,
got it is it?

Speaker 4 (34:29):
It's sometimes hard to do, but you know, like I said,
if you look at not only doing things just by
the book. Yeah, and also you know, just don't take shortcuts. Yes,
the shortcuts is what gets you in trouble.

Speaker 3 (34:43):
That's so true and that's in life too.

Speaker 6 (34:45):

Speaker 3 (34:45):
Yeah. So one positive thing that came from this horrific
tragedy was the founding of the Misty Uppam Award for
Young Native actors at the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program.
It started in twenty twenty one and every year they
recognize young Native American actors with exceptional talent. So, Jim,

that's just one of the lights that happened. Can you
tell us what is the light for you in this case?

Speaker 4 (35:16):
The fact that it's getting out there, and the fact
that one of the things is is that we're not
just saying blame the police. Nope, We're not just saying
those officers screwed up that day. Yeah. What we're saying
is there is a lot that contributed to this. There's
a lot of things that if something had just been
done a little bit differently at this point, at several

points along the way, this need not have happened. And
we nearly need to look at this from the big picture,
identify what those points were and how we can prevent
this sort of stuff from happening in the future. And
just like other people who are going to be viewing this,
like myself, I was unaware of this case, and I

did not know all the ins and outs of it.
But here's a person who's very much self aware of
her own mental illness who is trying to get help,
but help just isn't there, and as a result, this happens.
So you know, hopefully that message will get to them
situations in their own life. They'll try to maybe you know,

work harder to get help, but also to help improve
the system so that when somebody becomes vulnerable like she
did that day, she just wouldn't be ignored.

Speaker 2 (36:31):
And that's it right there. You just answered all of
my last questions, you know, because what are the positive
changes you know that could prevent these tragedies, And you
just said it to not be ignored, simple as that.
You know, everyone is a human being, we all do

the same things. With that being said, Jim again, you know,
thank you so much for taking time. I'm you be
with us here on facing evil. We so respect your intelligence,
you know your years of you know, work in the
police departments. Like we really thank you for being on

the show. Mahalo nui looa.

Speaker 3 (37:15):
Yes, Jim, and thank you for your compassion. You're a
very compassionate soul and we truly.

Speaker 6 (37:23):
Appreciate you well.

Speaker 4 (37:24):
Thank you so much.

Speaker 3 (37:30):
Today's message of hope and healing goes out to Misty
Uppham Missy Starr was on the rise. In fact, she
once even told a reporter quote, acting saved my life.

Speaker 2 (37:43):
But other circumstances ultimately conspired to be too much. Her
mental illness, which was intensified by things like recurrent poverty, violence,
and sexual trauma, as well as other realities brought on
by life as an Indigenous woman, just ultimately took her life.

Speaker 3 (38:04):
Yeah, and months before she died, Misty founded the Indigo
Children's Group, which she hoped would provide Native children living
on reservations with artistic role models and opportunities.

Speaker 2 (38:16):
And in twenty twenty one, the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts
Program created the Misty Uppham Award for Young Native Actors,
which offers a cash prize of five hundred dollars and
performance opportunities, as well as a message from miss.

Speaker 6 (38:34):
Meryl Streep that's amazing.

Speaker 3 (38:38):
Fern Renville, who leads the theater group that gave Misty
her start read Eagle Soaring, acknowledges the mark that Misty left,
saying her legacy is huge for Native young people interested
in being in film. It's a door that she opened.
It seems possible to them. Misty did it, We can
do it.

Speaker 2 (38:58):
We'd like to leave you with this sea buying quote
from Misty allow yourself the freedom to dream. Dreams are
what make your entire life worth living. Without dreams, we
are nothing. Onward and upward emua Ema.

Speaker 6 (39:25):
Well, that's our show for today.

Speaker 3 (39:27):
We'd love to hear what you thought about today's discussion
and if there's a case you'd like for.

Speaker 2 (39:31):
Us to cover, find us on social media or email
us at facingebl pod at tenderfoot dot tv.

Speaker 3 (39:38):
And one small request if you haven't already, please find
us on iTunes and give us a good rating and
a good review. If you like what we do, your
support is always cherished.

Speaker 6 (39:49):
Until next time.

Speaker 3 (39:51):

Speaker 1 (40:08):
Facing Evil is a production of iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV.
The show is hosted by Russia Peccuerero and Avet Gentile.
Matt Frederick and Alex Williams our executive producers on behalf
of iHeartRadio, with producers Trevor Young and Jesse Funk, Donald
albright In Payne Lindsay our executive producers on behalf of

Tenderfoot TV, alongside producer Tracy Kaplan. Our researcher is Carolyn Talmadge.
Original music by Makeup and Vanity Set. Find us on
social media or email us at facingevilpod at tenderfoot dot tv.
For more podcasts from iHeartRadio or Tenderfoot TV, visit the
iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your

favorite shows.
Advertise With Us

Popular Podcasts

Dateline NBC
The Nikki Glaser Podcast

The Nikki Glaser Podcast

Every week comedian and infamous roaster Nikki Glaser provides a fun, fast-paced, and brutally honest look into current pop-culture and her own personal life.

Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know

If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.


© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.