Casinos in Washington State – Map & List of Casino Resorts

EXTENSIVE write up on Missing and Murdered Indigenous women- Is there a serial killer on the Yakama Reservation?

Missing and Murdered Indigenous women
If you have spent any time reading about true crime, you probably know that American Indian/ Native American women go missing from the United States and Canada at alarming rates. On some reservations, women experience violence and are victims of homicide at 10x the rate of women in other communities. It is a complex issue with prejudice and jurisdictional issues playing major roles. If you want to know more about the root of these issues, I suggest Missing and Murdered” podcast by Indigenous Canadian journalist Connie Walker, who explains the issues much better than I ever could; that podcast is linked below. Today, I want to highlight the stories of some of these women, specifically those missing from the Yakama community.
Background
Washington state is home to the fifth largest Indian reservation in the United States, the Yakama reservation, which is home to the Klickitat, Palus, Wallawalla, Wenatchi, Whishram, Wanapum, and Yakama people. According to the US Census Bureau, only the Osage, Puyallup (also in Washington state), Navajo, and Choctaw reservations are more populous. The Yakama reservation is located in South Central Washington state, just south of the city of Yakima. Of the 31,000 people who live on the reservation, 11,000 are enrolled tribal members. Most people who live on the reservation claim Hispanic/Latino, white, or mixed-race ancestry, but Hispanic is by far the most common ethnic group. There are also small Filipino, Japanese, and Korean communities nearby. The Yakama reservation is located just south of the town of Yakima, Washington, a large farming community of 100,000 people. Apples, cherries, peaches, pears, and hops are all grown in the dry surrounding region. Harvest time brings thousands of migrant workers to the area, so the population is always in flux.
Outside of Yakima is the town of Union Gap (Pop. 8000), which is partially on the reservation, and partially off it. There are two other proper towns on reservation, Toppenish (pop. 8000) and Wapato (pop. 5000). Other small communities such as Satus, Harrah, White Swan, and Granger all boast several hundred residents each. All in all, the Yakama nation consists of 2,200 square miles of sprawling, rural land stretching from south central Washington nearly to the Oregon border. But from this unassuming patch of high desert and grassland, more than 30 Native women have gone missing/were murdered. If we add Native men to the equation, the number jumps to nearly 50 unsolved disappearances, deaths, and murders. If we add the deaths and disappearances of non-native people missing from the reservation, the number grows yet again. Although the land is vast, the tribal population is small. From my estimates over .5% of native people on the reservation are missing or murdered. Like many tribal communities, unemployment and poverty is common, appropriate housing is scare, and according to the tribal council "disregard for the rule of law and general civil unrest" as well as gun violence and substance abuse is common. In 2019 a youth curfew was instated after a particularly bad shooting.
According to the Washington State Patrol, the Yakama nation has the highest percentage of missing people of any Native community in the state, even though they are not the most populous. The FBI created a task force in 2009 to investigate the possibility of serial killer among the Yakama, but the investigation determined that a serial killer was unlikely, but not impossible. This was because the causes of death were so different from victim to victim. The investigation did close two cases on the reservation after DNA on both women linked them to a man serving life in an Oregon prison, but the man is not believed to be responsible for any other crimes in the inquiry. Whether a serial killer is loose on tribal land or not, this issue is complex and long standing and demonstrates how much substance abuse, domestic violence, and random crime affect the Native communities in this county at 10x the rate of other communities. Some progress has been made such as state bill 2951 which allows Washington state authorities to track cases and help investigate and search for missing individuals on tribal land. Because tribal lands are usually under federal jurisdiction, state authorities are not able to help, despite being more familiar with the area than the FBI. This is only one small step in the right direction and although awareness is growing, the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous people will not simply go away. The mystery of vanishing people still stands.
Many people have heard of this epidemic, but few know the names of the victims; today it is time to change that. Below are the profiles of 35 women who are missing, murdered, or who have suffered mysterious deaths. For some of the women very little information is available. The list below is not necessarily complete. If you know of other unsolved cases let me know in the comments below.
Quick guide:
Yakima- large town near, but not on, the reservation
Yakama- the tribe and people group
NOTE: all cases organized most to least recent and are broken down into missing, murdered, and mysterious categories
Missing
Tiana Cloud went missing from Yakima on April 7th, 2018. She was 17 years old at the time. She may be in local area, and she may have been located. She is a Native female, 5'4 ft, 162 lbs., brown eyes and brown hair. She has large dimples. Tiana was last seen Yakima WA. Very little information is available. Yakima police are investigating.
Freda Knowsgun or Knowshisgun has been missing since October 18th, 2016. Freda was from Montana and was registered with the Crow Agency. In the months before her disappearance her family reported that she was acting strangely and began drifting around the Northwest and spending time in southern Washington state. Freda was still close to her aunt and talked to her children sometimes, but was distancing herself from the rest of her family. Freda was last known to be at a customer service desk at a Walmart in Kennewick, Washington. Freda used her cell phone to call a friend to ask for money. She wanted to travel back home to Montana to spend Halloween with her children. Freda’s friend sent her the money but the money was never picked up. When she called Freda 15 minutes later, Freda’s cell phone was disconnected and no one has heard from her since. She did not return to Montana for Halloween or for her aunt’s funeral in November and she was reported missing. Freda’s family believes that she was abusing drugs at the time of her disappearance and they believe that Freda’s new friends in the drug scene may be involved with her disappearance. Law enforcement has reported that Freda’s new friends have not cooperated with the investigation into her disappearance. Freda may have been seen in Billings, Montana in December 2016 and she may be traveling with a black male named Mike. Freda is reported to be a 34-year-old Native American female with dark brown hair that is waist length which she wears in a ponytail or high bun. She has brown eyes, a scar on her right elbow, weights 160 lbs. and stands 5’5” in height. She has the following tattoos: the names "Lyrical", "Trinity" and "Mason" on her back between her shoulder blades, the cartoon character Mickey Mouse with a basketball on her right calf, and a flower on her right shoulder. She may use the last name "KnowsHisGun" and many accounts refer to her by that name. Her case is being investigated by Crow Agency Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Rosalita Faye Longee disappeared from her grandmother’s home in Wapato, Washington on June 30th, 2015 at 10 pm. Rosalita who went by Rose was 18 years old at the time. She is an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes in Montana but had lived with her grandmother on the Yakama reservation since age 2. Rose visited her grandmother on the night of June 30th asking to stay with her but her grandmother refused as Rose was high on drugs at the time, and she had a rule that Rose could only live there when she wasn’t using. Rose may have been with friends at the time. Rose had struggled with addiction for years and had been in and out of rehab centers since age 16. This was the last time Rose was ever seen alive. Rosalita is described as a Native American female, 5’6”- 5’8” in height and about 130-140 lbs. She has black hair, brown eyes, pierced ears and lip, and scars on both wrists and both her chest. At the time of her disappearance she enjoyed taking photos and posting them on her Facebook page. Yakama Nation tribal police are investigating.
Roberta Jean Raines, 19 was last seen in Toppenish on July 10th, 2001. Roberta was with a man named Jose Merced Zamora at that time. In 2002, this man killed a teenage boy and fled the county going to Mexico. Roberta was apparently with him at the time. It was around this time that Roberta’s family realized they had not seen her in a while and they reported her missing. Jose was arrested in 2007 in Idaho and taken it custody for the murder of the boy. Jose Merced Zamora told the authorities that the last time he saw Roberta she was in Mexico and that they parted ways. Authorities do not believe this story. Roberta is described as Native American female, 5’2”-5’3” in height and 120 lbs. She has very arched eyebrows. Toppenish Police are investigating.
Karen Louise Johnley, sometimes referred to as Karen Johnley-Wallahee, was reported missing November 7th or 8th, 1987 by her cousin. She was last seen by a friend at the Lazy R Tavern in Harrah on the Yakama reservation. Karen’s cousin describes Karen as a 29-year-old female, five feet tall and 100 lbs. She was last seen wearing pink barrettes in her hair, a pink tee shirt, a Levi’s brand denim jacket, and white tennis shoes. She had long black hair and brown eyes. Her cousin expressed worried about the person Karen was last seen with. No pictures are available of Karen and she does not even have a Charley Project page. Tribal police are investigating. She remains a missing person.
Daisy Mae Tallman or Daisy Mae Heath age 29, was reported missing on October 29th, 1987. When her family was questioned it came to light that no one had seen Daisy since the end of August, 1987. Daisy’s sister remembers her as very independent, often leaving the reservation to visit friends and family on a different reservation in Warm Springs, Oregon, or leaving the area to go fishing. Daisy was a high school basketball player and was the youngest of 6 sisters who were all raised by their maternal grandparents. At the time of her disappearance, Daisy was staying with relatives in either Toppenish or White Swan. A year after she disappeared a set of keys and a backpack believed to be Tallman’s/Heath’s were found in a closed area of a reservation called Soda Springs. 7 years after her disappearance she was declared legally dead. One source mentions that one of Daisy’s sisters was murdered before her disappearance but I could find no corroborating source. Daisy is described as a Native American female aged 29 with black hair that extended down her back and brown eyes. She was 5’5’ and weighted 185 lbs. She also has given birth in the past. No pictures are available of Daisy and she does not even have a Charley Project page. The FBI is investigating. She remains a missing person.
Janice Marie Hannigan a sophomore at White Swan high school was the oldest of 7 children. In 1971 Janice’s parents had recently separated and Janice was living with her father in Harrah, Washington but visited her mother and younger siblings often. Janice was nominated to be Queen of the Veteran’s day parade in November 1971 and the newspaper even ran an article about her and the other nominated girls. According to her interview in the paper, Janice enjoyed beadwork, cooking, and watching football. A few weeks later on December 21st Janice was admitted to the hospital for the treatment of contusions on her head and torso. On December 24th she was released from the hospital in stable condition. The cause of Janice’s injuries, as well as the location she was treated at is unknown. Janice never made it home from the hospital; this was the last time anyone ever saw Janice alive.
Strangely, this was not the first time Janice had been reported missing. Janice may have been reported missing in February or March of 1971, although she was determined to be visiting relatives in Idaho with her father at that time. Because of this some agencies report that Janice went missing March 1st 1971 but that is not accurate.
Some agencies report that Janice is a possible runaway as she was upset about her parent’s separation, although Janice had never runaway before. One Law Enforcement office reports that Janice’s father is a person of interest in her case, but Janice’s sister Traci Clark denies this notion and says it is “not possible.” Traci was only 8 years old the last time she saw Janice, but she still looks for her big sister any chance she gets.
Murdered
Angela Marie Heath of Toppenish, aged 41 died on April 5th, 2019. Her death is an unsolved hit and run. Very little information is available. Washington state patrol is investigating. She may (key word may) be related to Daisy Tallman-Health located above.
Rosenda Strong a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, was last seen on October 2nd, 2018 climbing into an acquaintance’s car, reportedly an older Nissan, heading to Legends Casino in Toppenish. Legends is an alcohol-free resort and Casino on the reservation popular with locals and tourists alike. Rosenda never returned from the Casino and sadly her body was found in a discarded refrigerator nine months after she was last seen in July 2019. Her death was ruled a homicide but no other details have been released. Rosenda’s sister said that at first tribal police did not take the disappearance seriously as Rosenda had past problems with drugs and they believed she would come home soon. Rosenda’s sister, Cissy Reyes nee Strong, believes that the murderers are the fellow tribespeople Rosenda was last with and complains that she still sees them “walking the reservation free” and refusing to talk. Cissy remembers her sister for her big, loud laugh and she hopes that someday Rosenda will get justice. The FBI is investigating.
Jedidah Moreno was last seen alive in September, 2018 by her family in the city of Yakima, which is not on tribal land. The 30-year-old was reported missing in late November 2018. Her body was found in early December and she had been dead at least a few days. She had died from a gunshot wound in a rural part of the reservation that was closed to non-tribal members. One report (a blog) claims that Jedidah was a member of the Yakama nation but no other sources state this, so take this information with a grain of salt. Her case remains unsolved. City of Yakima police and the FBI are investigating. Little information is available.
Linda Dave 39 of White Swan, was last seen alive in late 2016 or early 2017. On February 15th 2017, a woman was found dead under a bridge in Toppenish. It was determined that the woman died from a gunshot wound to the stomach and had been dead approximately six weeks. The woman was identified via DNA as Linda Dave. Linda was a mother and grandmother who enjoyed spending time with family, cooking, and dancing. She is the niece of Janice Hannigan, the first woman detailed in this piece. One local funeral home called Heggie’s has a website where people can share condolences to the family or stories about the deceased. In a cruel twist of fate one of the messages on Linda’s page is from murder victim Rosenda Strong. The FBI is investigating Dave’s case.
Minnie Andy was a 31-year-old Yakama woman who enjoyed fishing and swimming. Minnie was found beaten and close to death near 70 Egan Road in Wapato, Washington on July 9th, 2017. She had been badly assaulted earlier that morning and she tragically succumbed to her injuries at Astria Regional Medical Center in Yakima several hours later. Her cause of death was blunt force trauma. Christopher Lagmay was indicted for her murder shortly thereafter but he would be released from jail in 2019 without prejudice, meaning if new evidence arises, he could be re-tried. Her murder is still unsolved.
Destiny Lloyd, aged 23 disappeared on Christmas day 2017 from her home in Wapato. Her body was found in Harrah, Washington four days later. Initially, it looked like Destiny had died after slipping and falling on the concrete, causing a head wound but a full autopsy would reveal that her death was a homicide and that she died from blunt force trauma. Destiny worked at Legends Casino as a childcare worker. Her co workers remember her fondly and hope her case will be solved. The FBI is investigating.
Naoma George mother of six from Wapato, Washington was found dead in 2013 from trauma to her abdomen. Her death was ruled a homicide. Naoma was a traditional Yakama who did bead work and gathered traditional plants to keep the Yakama culture alive. Naoma was laid to rest in a traditional ceremony at the Longhouse surrounded by friends and family. Her case is unsolved and little information is available. Yakama Nation tribal police and the FBI are investigating.
Barbara Celestine aged 44 was a tribal member who lived in Wapato, Washington. She was found dead of blunt force trauma outside a housing project in town in 2013. Her death was ruled a homicide. The Yakama Nation police and the FBI are investigating the murder. Very little information is available.
Skeletal remains found in late 2008 in a remote part of the Yakama Reservation are believed to be those of a murder victim. The Doe was unknown until the FBI Seattle office mentioned the remains in early May 2009, when announcing the results of the FBI's approximately two-year-long analysis of reservation deaths which was spurred on by a March 2006 meeting with then-United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Until that point the fact that a doe was found was not public knowledge. The bones were found in a remote area near the backpack of missing person Daisy Mae Heath (Tallman). In early May 2009, Special Agents were awaiting mitochondrial DNA test results on those remains, which they said then might be those of Daisy Mae Tallman/Heath. The tests were inconclusive and there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the bones belonged to Daisy. The FBI has not released further information on the remains. This Jane Doe is on no public databases (NAMUS, Doe Project) as far as I can tell. The FBI is investigating.
The triple homicide of Charmaine Sanchey, 47, Toni Marie Green, 43, and Steve Alvarado, 52 is still unsolved. Their beaten and stabbed bodies were found in a small trailer outside Toppenish on Jan. 16, 2003 by their landlord who came over to collect their rent check. He found the women dead in the bedroom and Steve dead in the main living area. The trailer was on the reservation but it is unclear which victims (if any) were tribal members. Authorities say that they have few leads and few suspects. Later, Charmaine Sanchey’s brother, Arthur Joseph Sanchey, was the primary suspect, but was acquitted of charges in July 2004. The brutal triple homicide is still a mystery.
Sandra Lee Smiscon did not die on the reservation but I believe her case deserves a spot in this piece. In the year 2003, Sandra was a 45-year-old mother of 3 children who split her time between Wapato and Seattle. After high school, Sandra got a job in a nursing home and mothered three children. After her personal relationships fell apart Sandra became lost and her children were placed in the custody of their fathers and other family members. She often traveled to Seattle and did odd jobs but was basically drifting around. According to her brother Walter, Sandra was a “party animal” who loved having a good time but sometimes let the drinking get the better of her. Despite her flaws he remembers his sister as a somewhat shy individual with a huge, bright smile who taught her younger daughter the art of traditional dance. Sandra traveled home regularly for family events and holidays but never stayed for long.
One day Sandra and her companions were sleeping near 4th and Yesler streets in Seattle when a man, angered by nearby fireworks shot into the homeless camp aimlessly, injuring a few people and killing Sandra. Her 2003 murder is still unsolved. Sandra’s name is part of the Fallen Leaves memorial, a place of remembrance for deceased homeless individuals as a way to give them dignity and a place to be remembered. Her case is still unsolved. The suspect is described as young man in his 20-30s with a dark complexion but of unknown race. Seattle police department is investigating.
Shari Dee Sampson Elwell age 30, had not been seen for weeks when her battered and sexually mutilated body was found in a remote area by hunters near White Swan. Her body was found during February 1992 in the middle of a blizzard. She had been beaten, mutilated, and strangled. Little has been done to solve her case and very little information is available.
Skeletal unidentified Native woman believed to be in her late 20s or early 30s were found on Feb. 16, 1988, near Parker Dam in Union Gap. Her cause of death has not been determined but her case has been ruled a homicide. She had been dead from 2-10 months. She is described as a Native female, 25-40 years old with dark brown hair that had been bleached light brown in the front. She was wearing lavender colored pants, a long sleeve shirt with a Mexican label, and brown bowling shoes, one with a black sole and one with a white sole. She was slight and short 4’11” to 5’1”. She is not Daisy Tallman/Heath or Karen Johnley. Despite her heritage she is NOT believed to be Yakama; she may be from Mexico and perhaps a migrant worker as her clothing had Mexican labels.
JoAnne Betty (Wyman) John the 44-year-old mother of eleven children, was reported missing on August 1st, 1988. A partial skeleton was a discovered in February 1991 which was determined to be John’s. Her cause of death was ruled “homicidal violence.” Little information is available in her case. The FBI are investigating.
Rozelia Lou (Tulee) Sohappy, 31, of Brownstown was last seen alive New Year’s Eve of 1988. 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. Very little information is available.
Jenece Marie Wilson was 20 years old in August 1987. The young woman who lived in Toppenish, when to a party one night and then left the next morning to hitch hike to her boyfriend’s place in Sunnyside, Washington but she never made it. On August 9th a farmer found the body of a woman in his orchard which was so severely beaten it was hard to establish her identity. Dental records confirmed that the body belonged to Jenece and she had died from a blow to the head. In 2009, twenty-two years later DNA evidence was run through the system and there was a hit. The DNA matched an Oregon convict, Samuel Posada. Samuel had attended the same high school as Jenece but the two did not appear to know each other. He was arrested and charged with murder and rape. Strangely, Posada waived his right to jury trial but was acquitted of all charges by the judge in his 2011 trial. Jenece’s case has been cold ever since.
Babette Crystall Greene was 26 years old and lived in the town of Toppenish but was last seen in Yakima, Washington in October 1986. 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, Washington. Her cause of death is listed as “homicidal violence.” Very little information is available.
Clydell Alice Sampson age 25 of Klickitat had not been seen alive since sometime in 1984 when her skeleton was found by hunters near Hambre Butte, south of Granger, Washington in December, 1986. Her death was ruled a homicide and she died from a gunshot wound. Very little information is available; there are no pictures available of Clydell.
Mavis Josephine McKay was a member of the Confederated tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon. She was 33 years old when she was found murdered in an irrigation ditch on August 13th, 1957 in Satus, a very isolated area of the reservation. Because her case is so old, very little information is available.
Mysterious deaths
Echo Kay Littlewolf was 31 years old when she was last seen alive. Echo is described as a tomboy who loved camping, animals, and being outside. Echo was homeless at the time of her disappearance and lived in a tent on the reservation but contacted relatives often, at least twice a week. She would pop into her parents’ or grandparents’ house to shower and do odd jobs for money for friends and relatives but always returned to her nomadic lifestyle. On August 15th, 2017 Littlewolf’s grandmother had not heard from her in a week and contacted Echo’s mother, Jeanette Osborne, who drove to her daughter’s campsite. As soon as she smelled decomposition, she called tribal authorities who found the body of Echo Kay Littlewolf. Her body was badly degraded due to the hot weather. Her death was ruled “natural causes” and Echo was cremated. Jeanette believes little investigation was done because Echo had used drugs in the past. According to Jeanette, her daughter’s body looked like she had been standing and then fell over after being hit with an object, nevertheless an autopsy was never ordered by authorities. Echo’s family now wishes she was buried and an autopsy could have been performed. Her suspicious death has never been solved.
Angela Babette Billy, 41, of Pendleton, Oregon was an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation. She also is known as Angela Shippentower and Babette Shippentower. According to the one article I could find Angela who went by “Babette” was a victim of domestic violence. Right before she went missing Babette confided to family members that her boyfriend was abusing her. Right after that her boyfriend left her to be with a woman he had been seeing on the side. Babette’s body was found in late May 2013 in the Umatilla River near Mission, Oregon. She had been missing for over a week. She was found by two people on horseback while they were conducting a private search for her. The area was accessible only by foot, horse or four-wheelers, from one side of the river. The area in which she was found was behind the home of her boyfriend’s new romantic interest. This woman, who remains unknown to the public, also had a reputation for drugs and violent behavior. Billy’s cause of death was drowning and while her death has not been ruled a homicide it is considered “suspicious” and not simply an accident. According to family members police did not take her disappearance very seriously at first- a mistake that may have cost Babette her life.
Alice Ida Looney, 38 of Toppenish was reported missing after she was last seen in Wapato in the early morning hours around Aug. 16 or 17, 2004. A hunter found her body Nov. 30, 2005, wedged under a tree on a small island in Satus Creek, about 12 miles southeast of Toppenish. Looney had family on the Cowlitz and Puyallup reservations. The FBI lists the cause of her death as inconclusive. High school and college athlete Rosy Fish, a distance relative of Looney’s, ran four races at a state track tournament (and won 3). Each race was dedicated to a missing or murdered female native relative of Fish’s, which shows the breadth of this issue. Fish’s actions have spurred other native athletes to do similar tributes. Looney’s death is still unsolved. Looney’s family also says they were never interviewed by law enforcement.
Teresa R. Stahi age 25. July 27th 1987 marks the day Teresa Stahi’s body was found drowned in a canal. Her clothed body was pulled from a fish screen in a diversion canal off Toppenish Creek south of Granger. 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.” Law enforcement now says her death is “inconclusive.” Very little information is available.
Sara Dee Winnier age 24 had recently moved back to the reservation after living in California. She was found at 3:30 a.m. July 22, 1985, sitting upright in the driver’s seat of a burning car off McDonald Road about half a mile from U.S. Highway 97. Her body was badly burned and the coroner used dental records to identify her. Winnier lived in a remote part of the reservation and worked at the Save More Grocery in Wapato. Her death is suspicious and unsolved. Little information is available.
Celestine Spencer, 21 sometimes called Celestine Yallup, of Wapato had been missing two weeks when her body was found at the bottom of a gully in a field off McCullough Road along the north slope of Ahtanum Ridge. She was found Nov. 11, 1982, at the bottom of a hill near a field. Her death while somewhat suspicious was determined to be hypothermia was deemed a probable accident. Celestine’s aunt was awarded custody of her son, Roland, who had some disabilities and various medical problems. Tragically, less than two years later Roland (age 3) disappeared in a child abduction in Wapato and has not been seen since. His Charley Project page is here- http://charleyproject.org/case/roland-jack-spencer-iii.
Lesora Yvette Eli was only 19 years old when a farmer found her fully clothed body along Parton Road near Toppenish on Feb. 2, 1982. She was face down in a drainage ditch. While the County Coroner’s Office listed the death as accidental drowning, FBI investigators claim it is a possible homicide. Her death has never been solved and very little information is available.
Sheila Pearl Lewis, a 33-year-old social worker who worked at DSHS in Yakima was found dead in August of 1980 near Parker Dam in Union Gap. An autopsy showed that she died of massive internal injuries most likely from being hit by a large car or truck. Even though her death is most likely a hit and run, it is classified as suspicious rather than a homicide. Sheila lived on the reservation. Very little information is available in her case.
What happened to these people? Is there a serial killer on the loose? Or simply an epidemic of violence towards women? Hopefully, these cases can one day be solved.
I have been thinking of writing up the stories of missing men and boys on the reservation, if you would be interested in a write up on that let me know in the comments below.
If you are interested in this issue as a whole, I suggest this podcast by Canadian journalist Connie Walker who explains and dives deeply into the issues discussed in the piece. https://www.cbc.ca/radio/findingcleo/missing-murdered-who-killed-alberta-williams-1.4556030#:~:text=Sparked%20by%20a%20chilling%20tip,in%20British%20Columbia%20in%201989.
If you are interested in the cases of other missing Native Americans, my write ups on the Teekah Lewis and Bryce Herda cases can be found here on my reddit profile. https://www.reddit.com/useQuirky-Motor
Special thanks to these sources:
https://www.yakimaherald.com/news/local/murdered-missing-and-mysterious-deaths-of-native-girls-and-women-on-and-around-the-yakama/article_46068a45-4f5f-5f8e-b37d-198fd98ac5a5.html
https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/we-have-so-many-missing-people-coroner-tests-remains-found-on-yakima-river-island-as-families-wait-hope/
https://kimatv.com/news/local/over-one-third-of-missing-indigenous-women-in-wa-disappeared-from-yakima-county-wsp-says
http://lostandmissinginindiancountry.com/Newsletters/July2019.pdf
https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/seattle/press-releases/2009/se050609-1.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakama_Indian_Reservation
http://www.yakamanation-nsn.gov/
https://www.thesciencehippy.com/health/mmiw-the-women-she-represents
http://charleyproject.org/
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Missing and Murdered Indigenous...Men? Why are there so many missing men and boys from the Yakama reservation? Part 2 of 2.

Missing and murdered indigenous people
If you have spent any time reading about true crime, you probably know that American Indian/ Native American women go missing from the United States and Canada at alarming rates. On some reservations, women experience violence and are victims of homicide at 10x the rate of women in other communities.
But what about men and boys? Missing and murdered Indigenous boys and men are the forgotten group of this epidemic of violence on tribal land and many families are aching to see the cases of their missing/murdered male loved ones solved. Just like with the missing women, men and boys are going missing at an alarming rate on tribal land, but race is not the only factor. Men (and women) of all ethnicities who live on the Yakama reservation are missing and murdered at disturbing rates.
Missing and murdered indigenous people is a complex issue with prejudice and jurisdictional issues playing major roles. If you want to know more about the root of these issues, I suggest “Missing and Murdered” podcast by Indigenous Canadian journalist Connie Walker, who explains the issues much better than I ever could; that podcast is linked below.
Today, I want to highlight the stories of some of these men and boys, specifically those missing from the Yakama community. Because there are so many missing people who are practically unknown, I have decided to profile the cases of ALL the men and boys missing from the reservation, regardless of race.
This is a companion piece to another write up I completed about missing women and girls from the Yakama reservation. That write up can be found here. If some sections sound similar that is probably why. https://www.reddit.com/UnresolvedMysteries/comments/htvnv6/extensive_write_up_on_missing_and_murdered/
Background
Washington state is home to the fifth largest Indian reservation in the United States, the Yakama reservation, which is home to the Klickitat, Palus, Wallawalla, Wenatchi, Whishram, Wanapum, and Yakama people. According to the US Census Bureau, only the Osage, Puyallup (also in Washington state), Navajo, and Choctaw reservations are more populous. The Yakama reservation is located in South Central Washington state, just south of the city of Yakima. Of the 31,000 people who lived on the reservation, 11,000 are enrolled tribal members. Most people who live on the reservation claim Hispanic/Latino, white, or mixed-race descent, but Hispanic is by far the most common ethnic group. There are also small Filipino, Japanese, and Korean communities nearby. The Yakama reservation is located just south of the town of Yakima, Washington, a large farming community of 100,000 people. Apples, cherries, peaches, pears, grapes, and hops are all grown in the dry surrounding region. Harvest time brings thousands of migrant workers to the area, so the population is always in flux.
Outside of Yakima is the town of Union Gap (Pop. 8000), which is partially on the reservation, and partially off it. There are two other proper towns on reservation, Toppenish (pop. 8000) and Wapato (pop. 5000). Other small communities such as Satus, Harrah, White Swan, and Granger all boast several hundred residents each. All in all, the Yakama nation consists of 2,200 square miles of sprawling, rural land stretching from south central Washington nearly to the Oregon border. But from this unassuming patch of high desert and grassland, more than 30 Native women have gone missing/were murdered. If we add Native men to the equation, the number jumps to nearly 40 unsolved disappearances, deaths, and murders. If we add the deaths and disappearances of non-native people missing from the reservation, the number grows yet again.
Although the land is vast, the tribal population is small. From my estimates over .5% of native people on the reservation are missing or murdered. Like many tribal communities, unemployment and poverty is common, appropriate housing is scare, and according to the tribal council "disregard for the rule of law and general civil unrest" as well as gun violence and substance abuse is common. In 2019 a curfew was instated after a particularly bad shooting.
According to the Washington State Patrol, the Yakama nation has the highest percentage of missing people of any Native community in the state, even though they are not the most populous. The FBI created a task force in 2009 to investigate the possibility of serial killer among the Yakama, but the investigation determined that a serial killer was unlikely, but not impossible. This was because the causes of death were so different from victim to victim. The investigation did close 2 cases on the reservation after DNA on both women linked them to a man serving life in an Oregon prison, but the man is not believed to be responsible for any other crimes in the inquiry.
Whether a serial killer is loose on tribal land or not, this issue is complex and long standing and demonstrates how much substance abuse, domestic violence, accidents, and random crime affect the native communities in this county at 10x the rate of other communities. Some progress has been made such as state bill 2951 which allows Washington state authorities to track cases and help investigate and search for missing individuals on tribal land. Because tribal lands are usually under federal jurisdiction, state authorities previously were not able to help, despite being more familiar with the area than the FBI. This is only one small step in the right direction and although awareness is growing, the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous people will not simply go away.
Many people have heard of this epidemic, but few know the names of the victims; today it is time to change that. Below are the profiles of 20 men and boys who are missing, murdered, or who have suffered mysterious deaths. For some of the individuals very little information is available. The list below is not necessarily complete. If you know of other unsolved cases let me know in the comments below.
Quick guide: Yakima- large town near, but not on, the reservation
Yakama- the tribe and people group
NOTE: all cases organized most to least recent. In order to be profiled the cases in this piece must have some connection to the Yakama Indian reservation. This could mean those who lived on the reservation, were last seen on the reservation, are believed to be missing within the confines of reservation, or are of Yakama heritage by birth. Hope that makes sense.
Missing
Bernard Schieber, 86, of Yakima has not been seen since Aug. 8, 2019, when he left his home in the 2500 block of South 84th Avenue in Yakima. His black, full-size Chevrolet pickup was found a few weeks later in a closed portion of the Yakama Nation reservation. It appears to have been parked normally and not crashed or damaged. When he left his home in the city of Yakima, Bernard had only ¼ tank of gas and no money. He suffers from dementia. Bernard is described as a white male with blue eyes and gray hair. He weighs 190 lbs. and stands 5’ 11” tall. Anyone with any information about Schieber is asked to call the Yakima County Sheriff's Office at 509-574-2500. He is still missing.
Josiah “Jo” Michael Hilderbrand aged 25 and his friend 47-year-old Jon Joseph Cleary left southern California in early June 2020 to travel to a Grateful Dead concert at The Gorge a venue in Washington state. Both men were traveling together in a light blue 2004 Honda Civic hybrid when they were last heard from on June 7th, 2019. On June 8th their abandoned burned out car was found 8 miles west of Toppenish in a deserted, rural area of the reservation. The FBI has stated they believe the men are dead but they are officially listed as missing.
Josiah Hilderbrand is described as white male, age 25, with light brown wavy hair and blue eyes. He is 5’8” and 165 lbs. He has a neck tattoo. Jon Cleary is a white male, 47 years old, and 6’3” in height weighing 230 lbs. He has brown/gray hair and beard and brown eyes. He usually wears a baseball cap.
Remains found August 5th, 2020 near Toppenish may belong to the men. The FBI is handling the case as the men were found on tribal land. The families are offering $35,000 for information that can solve the murders. Even if the remains are those of the “Dead Heads” the crimes of their deaths remain unsolved.
Strangely enough Hilderbrand and Cleary died on the same day that a mass shooting occurred in White Swan where two men, Donovan Quinn Carter Cloud and James Dean Cloud, killed five people. The shooters have been convicted in that crime and some have speculated that both crimes are related. This mass shooting was the crime that inspired that reservation-wide curfew to be put into effect.
Elias Chief Culps, 25, was last seen in White Swan on Dec. 27, 2018 and has not been heard from since. In 2015 Elias was a witness in a court case about unreasonable searches and seizures and whose jurisdiction should be involved when fugitives are found on tribal land- the outcome of that case is unknown. There is little information available about Elias’ disappearance. Those with information are asked to call the Yakama Nation Police Department at 509-865-2933, case number 19-009167. He is described as a Native American male, 5’6”-5’7” in height and 150-170 lbs. He has brown hair and eyes and a tattoo on his neck.
Jose Francisco Canales a 43-year-old father of 7 children was last heard from on July 7, 2018 in Harrah, Washington where he resided with his wife of nineteen years. He was last seen at La Guadalupana (a store in Harrah) on July 6, 2018 where he cashed his paycheck. The next day, July 7th, he called his boss to report that he would not be coming into work that day. This was the last time anyone saw or heard from Canales. He is described as a Hispanic male, 5’7” or 5’8” in height and 145 lbs. with brown hair and eyes. He has a scar on his left hand about 1” in length and a tattoo of a heart on his right arm/shoulder area. He was last seen wearing along-sleeved t-shirt (possibly green), blue jeans, brown sneakers and a blue baseball cap. He has a receding hairline and some gray hairs in his beard. Canales may be driving a gray 1994 Ford Ranger single cab pickup truck with the Washington license plate number B53351T. There may be a green 2018 Polaris 450HO four-wheeler in the bed of the truck; it has the vehicle identification number (VIN) 4XASEA509JA252860. Canales's case remains unsolved.
Rolando Gabriel "Gabby" Gutierrez, of Mabton has been missing since Sept. 16, 2017. The 44-year-old was the oldest of six siblings and was close to his family. When his family last heard from him, Gutierrez was in Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point, a Mexican fishing and resort city on the Gulf of California. He was staying in the area and had weekly phone contact with his family. Gabby was planning to come home for his niece’s birthday in October, but he never made it. One of his sisters worried that Gabby was “wrapped up” in the drug trade. In November 2019, forensic scientists in the Mexican state of Sonora announced that they had recovered 52 bodies and skeletons from a mass grave near Puerto Peñasco. Gabby’s family told an Associated Press reporter that they thought there might be a chance his body was among them, but this is not known for certain. Rolando “Gabby” Gutierrez is described as either a Hispanic or a mixed race (Caucasian/ Hispanic) male who is 5’10” in height and weights 180-260 lbs. He has black hair and brown eyes but he shaves his head. He also has a zodiac cancer symbol tattooed on his arm and has pierced nipples. There is currently a go fund me for Gabby’s family so one of his siblings can travel to Mexico to give their DNA for comparison. Mexican authorities are investigating this case.
Kristopher Fowler, 34, was last seen Oct. 12, 2016. Fowler, affectionately known as "Sherpa" and “Kris” was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and had started at the border with Mexico with a goal of completing the 2,800-mile trek to the Canadian border. He was last seen in the White Pass area only a few hundred miles from his destination. Kris was last seen at a convenience store in very rural Yakima county. Kris is described as a white male, 6’2” and 165 lbs. He has blonde hair and beard and blue eyes. He is believed to be lost in the wilderness. His step mother still hopes the body can be recovered some day. Those with information should call the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office at 509-574-2500.
Joseph Eric Miranda Jr., 24, has been missing from Granger since May 26, 2016. Reports say Joseph went to his bedroom on May 26, 2016 around 10:30 pm after talking with his father. His mother went to check on him in the morning but he was nowhere to be found. She last saw him late on the evening of May 25, 2016 and initially thought he had gone on a walk never returned. It is unclear if Miranda and his wife also lived at the house with his parents or if he was only staying there. According to one source, Miranda left his wife a note that said he “wouldn’t be seeing her for a while.” Miranda had a bank card and a cellphone with him when he disappeared, but because the cellphone was a government issued phone (a burner phone maybe?) it cannot be pinged. His bank card was last used on May 25th to buy a soda at a gas station and it has never been used again. He left his keys and his car at his parent’s home. There has been some activity on Miranda’s social security card but it is unknown if the user is Miranda or an identity thief. Joseph’s favorite movie is a 2014 film called Wild, about a girl who hikes through the wilderness of the Pacific Crest trail. His family worries he embarked on a similar journey and either got lost of met with foul play. They ask that if Joseph is out there to please contact them so that they know he is alive and well.
Joseph is described as a Hispanic male, 5’7” or 5”8 and 180-195 lbs. He has black hair and brown eyes. Miranda had long hair and a beard at the time of his disappearance and usually wore his hair long but occasionally cut it very short. He wears prescription eyeglasses with silver frames. He has a strawberry birthmark on his chest and a small mole on his upper lip. When last seen he was wearing multi colored swim trunks, a green long-sleeved shirt and superman flip flops. He often wears flip flops, his Rx glasses, and bandanas or hats on his head. If you have seen Miranda or have information please called the Granger PD at 509-854-2656.
Chad Nathan Stotz-Gomez, 36 of Union Gap, drifted between homeless camps at the time of his disappearance, but talked to his mother and other family members regularly. He was last seen on July 10th 2015. He has not been seen or heard from since. Some believe that this case is connected to the case of Cody Turner (details below). The same day Stotz-Gomez disappeared, there was shooting at a homeless camp between Yakima and Selah, Washington. The victim, a 36-year-old woman, was injured but the victim has not cooperated with law enforcement and no arrests have been made. Police found Stotz-Gomez's DNA at the shooting scene. Some have speculated that the shooting is connected to the November 2015 murder of Norma Emmerson, who was shot in the head outside East Selah, Washington. Some reports say Norma had information about a homicide committed by her ex-boyfriend, Raven Cutler. Cutler ultimately pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Cutler told Cody Turner's mother he'd seen Cody Turner (case below) and Stotz-Gomez together in downtown Yakima, but his information has not been verified. Other witnesses believe that the two men, Turner and Stotz-Gomez, knew each other casually and believe that their disappearances must be related.
In the past Stotz-Gomez has lived in New York and Montana and he may have traveled there. At the time of his disappearance, was required to check in weekly with the police. Stotz-Gomez is described as a Hispanic or mixed-race Hispanic/Caucasian male, 5’9” and 180-190 lbs. He has black hair and brown eyes and usually wears a beard. He has the following tattoos: barbed wire on his upper left arm, a skull with wings on his right arm, the letters "SUR" on one hand, the number 13 on the other hand, and a small cholo face on his chest. If you have any information please contact the Yakima County Sheriff's Office 509-574-2550.
Cody Turner, 24, was last seen July 26, 2015, in Yakima leaving the home he shared with his father and grandparents. Cody had been gone that day with his dog Ariel but arrived at the home in the evening where he ate, showered, and picked up some cigarettes before leaving the house again. He had his cellphone on him but since July 28th, 2015 the phone has gone straight to voicemail. According to some sources Cody was homeless at the time of his disappearance but according to others he lived at his grandparent’s house with his father. Cody has a history of meth usage and his family believes he was using at the time of his disappearance. Despite his drug use, Cody’s family said he usually returned home every evening and talked to his family daily. He does not have a history of dropping out of sight or being out of touch with his family.
Cody is described as a white male 5'5 - 5'7, 150 - 170 pounds. He has sandy colored hair and green eyes. He keeps his hair very short and tidy. He sometimes wears facial hair (a goatee and mustache) which he keeps short. Turner's nickname is Cooter. He has two scars, one on his left wrist and one on his abdomen. His ears and tongue are pierced, but he had stopped wearing his earrings and tongue ring prior to his disappearance. Turner has the following tattoos: the name "Natilie" with flames and barbed wire on his right bicep, three skulls with swords going through them on his left bicep, and a tribal stamp on the inside of his upper left arm. Turner has previously fractured his left foot and he smokes cigarettes. His case may be connected to Chad- Stotz Gomez’s case which is why it is included in this piece, even though he has no connection to the reservation.
Justin Lee McConville has been missing from Toppenish since sometime in January 2015. He was 24 years old at the time and was last seen on the Yakama reservation, but often travels to Oregon and fishes along the Columbia River. Some sources say he is nomadic and had no permanent address but others say he lives in Toppenish. Justin is described as a Native American male with long brown hair which he wears in a pony tail and brown eyes. McConville has a half-sleeve tattoo of a Native American man, Chief Joseph, on his upper right arm. He also has a tattoo of a tribal fishing design on his left arm and a tattoo of a Native American design on his back. He is 6’0”-6’2” and weights 165 lbs. Yakama Tribal Police are investigating. They can be reached at 509-865-2933.
Anthony “Tony” Peters, also known as Anthony Colfax Peters, 56, was last seen in October 2014 at Legends Casino in Toppenish. According to his sister, Peters was homeless at the time, living with relatives or friends or elsewhere when necessary, but he regularly talked to his family and friends. According to his sister, Alfrieda, Tony like many homeless individuals had a complicated life. His temper sometimes got him into trouble, but eventually he always came around. His sister remembers him as a natural born artist who did powwow dancing, beadwork, and drawing for fun. He was also a good singer. In the past, he has been known to travel to other nearby reservations such as the Umatilla or Warm Springs. He has also been known to travel to Seattle. He would drop out of sight from time to time, but never for more than a few weeks.
Tony is described as a Native American male with black hair and brown eyes. Peter’s nickname is Tony, and he may use the name Anthony Colfax Peters. He has an overlapped front tooth and one front tooth is missing. He is 5’6” and his weight fluctuates regularly. His missing person case remains open with the Yakama Nation Police Department, number 15-006132.
Roland Elton Woodall Sconawah a Yakama by birth was last seen in either Lyle or Dallesport Washington in November, 2013. Both communities lie on the Columbia river in Klickitat county in what was once the land of the Yakama people. Tribal members have fishing rights in the area even though it is not technically on the reservation. This is where Roland was last seen. The 23-year-old was somewhat transient. He went missing under unclear circumstances. Roland is described as a Native American male with brown eyes and black hair. He stands at 5'6 - 5'8, and weighs 140 - 160 pounds. He is sometimes referred to as Roland Sconawah Sam. Klickitat county sheriff’s office 509-773-4545, is investigating.
Ira Kennedy Yallup Sr. was last seen at the Lone Pine fishing site near The Dalles, OR. in May 2010. His family has offered a $1,000 reward for information about his whereabouts. He is a Native male in his 50s with black hair. No other vital statistics are available and he does not even have a Charley Project page. Yakama tribal police are investigating.
Francisco Javier Mendoza was 27 years old when he was last seen in the early morning hours of June 8th 1994 leaving a 7-11 convenience store in Toppenish. Francisco was with two friends at the time. Later that morning, the three friends were outside of Toppenish when their car broke down. Francisco apparently went walking in the direction of town in order to get help and vanished into the night. He has never been seen again. Few details are available and his friends’ story is considered suspicious. Francisco is described as a Hispanic male, 5’5” in height weighing 160 lbs. He has black hair and brown eyes. Mendoza may have a mustache, beard or a goatee. Some agencies may spell his first name "Franciso." He was wearing a white tank top, shorts and sneakers when he was last seen. Toppenish police are investigating, 509-865-4355.
Lawrence Jay "Larry" Riegel, 57 of Yakima worked as a carpenter and contract pilot before breaking four vertebrae, and injury that left him disabled. Right before going missing Larry had a surgery on his neck and some sources claim he was in a neck brace. Unable to work, Riegel was collecting disability. The last contact anyone had with Larry took place on Christmas day, 2009. He contacted several relatives and friends including a call to his mother to thank her for some clothes she bought him for the holiday. He was supposed to join his family in Yakima for a belated Christmas dinner on Dec. 26, 2009, but he never showed up or called. Riegel’s family described him as a “chatty Cathy” who talked to just about anyone and had daily phone contact with his friends and family. Riegel’s last phone call took place at approximately 5:30 pm on Christmas day. It is believed that the call was made to Riegel’s tenants who rented a farm from him in Union Gap, a town on the reservation. His tenants owed him $3000 in back rent.
Riegel lived with his girlfriend, Ladena Mann before he went missing. Mann claimed that the couple argued on Christmas day and Riegel left the home presumably to go see his tenants. She also claimed that Riegel assaulted her either on Christmas day or on January 4th before disappearing. When Mann tried to report this assault weeks later, she was unable because she had no injuries or proof of violence. Mann used Riegel’s money and EBT card after he disappeared as well as applied for her own EBT card claiming she still lived with Larry. Mann was charged with welfare fraud and perjury, but charges were dropped when she paid back the money and entered a diversion program. In one media interview she claimed that Larry is still alive and that he has “contacted several people” since going missing. She thinks Larry is residing in Idaho or Montana and has accused his family of knowing where he is. Ladena Mann is a person of interest in Larry’s disappearance as are his tenants, the last known people to have spoken to him. Riegel’s family is offering a $25,000 for information in the homicide investigation that leads to his remains. They have billboards all over the Yakima valley asking for information. Larry’s mother, aged 90, still drives around rural areas searching for his body.
Riegel is described as a white male with gray hair, a gray mustache, and hazel eyes. He is 6’2” and weights 200 lbs. He has surgical scars on his left knee and a prominent vertical scar on his neck from recent surgery to fix four broken vertebrae. He often wears eyeglasses and he has a limp in his left leg. He is also an alcoholic who frequented neighborhood bars. Yakima Police Department Yakima Police Department (509-576-6573) is investigating.
Donnie Sampson, 71, a well-known religious leader, had been serving for eight years on the Tribal Council’s Code of Ethics Committee when he disappeared in the fall of 1994 while hunting elk about 45 miles west of White Swan, near Mt. Adams. Donnie had a heart problem and had been prescribed nitroglycerin as a result. Right before his disappearance, he told his daughter that he (and the ethics committee) “was getting into something that’s going to make everybody mad.” He even went so far to tell her that he would be “making enemies” and that she and the community would hear about his findings soon enough. He had been investigating rumors of corruption in the tribal council and the housing authority before he went missing, but other committee members refused to elaborate on the matter.
Donnie’s truck was found Oct. 30, 1994, in the foothills of Mount Adams by volunteer searchers, but searchers found no trace of Sampson. His nitroglycerin, lunch, clothing and three rifles were found in his truck. A fourth rifle he left home with disappeared with him. Donnie’s children say tribal police has done little to investigate the disappearance, which they believe is a result of foul play. For example, his children were never interviewed and his truck was found by volunteers, not official search and rescue. Tribal authorities believe that the elderly Sampson simply got lost while hunting. There are no photos or description of Donnie Sampson available. He does not even have a Charley Project page. Tribal police are investigating.
Roland Jack Spencer III disappeared in late May 1984. He was 3 years old when last seen in the area of Knight Lane and Campbell Road in Wapato, although some sources say he was last seen in Toppenish. Roland is presumed to have been abducted by a non-family member, when he was in the yard. Curiously, Roland’s mother died under suspicious circumstances several years earlier (her case is featured in my previous write up). After her death Roland moved in with his great-aunt. Roland is described as a 3-year-old Native American male, with black hair and brown eyes. Roland has a scar on his abdomen. His nickname is Do-Boy and he may go by his middle name, Jack. Roland has some severe medical issues and disabilities. One website explains that Roland experienced brain damage in the womb which lead to his medical issues. Despite his hardships, he was a happy child who loved playing with cars. He is classified as mentally disabled, hard of hearing, and suffers from epilepsy. He takes medication to control his condition and may fall into a coma without it. He can only walk a few steps at a time and has very limited vocabulary and speaking skills. He was last seen wearing corduroy pants, a long sleeved red and white shirt, and tan boots. His was declared legally dead in 2000. Yakama tribal police are investigating, (509) 865-2933.
Murdered
Darryl Keith Celestine of Zillah, was murdered Sept. 25, 1988, in Wapato. He was found strangled outside his home. Darryl, a Yakama, was only 22 years old at the time. His murder is unsolved. Very little information is available.
What happened to these men? Why are so many people missing from such a sparsely populated area?
Sources
These sources are a good place to start.
https://www.yakimaherald.com/news/local/loved-ones-of-missing-and-murdered-men-and-boys-also-wait-for-answers/article_99d6a596-befe-5860-aa5d-a8fef822725f.html
https://www.yakimaherald.com/news/lower_valley/one-year-later-white-swan-quintuple-homicide-suspects-awaiting-trial-law-enforcement-targeting-crime-in/article_4ed98a29-a273-573c-8af1-031fdec6d248.html
https://www.yakimaherald.com/news/local/they-need-closure-families-of-men-who-went-missing-in-yakima-county-ask-for-publics/article_11358e29-b133-5458-9f13-acf4face7abe.html
The Charley Project and NAMUS
If you are interested in this issue as a whole, I suggest this podcast by Canadian journalist Connie Walker who explains and dives deeply into the issues discussed in the piece. You can listen to the podcast Missing and Murdered here: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/findingcleo/missing-murdered-who-killed-alberta-williams-1.4556030#:~:text=Sparked%20by%20a%20chilling%20tip,in%20British%20Columbia%20in%201989.
If you are interested in the cases of other missing Native Americans, my write ups on the Teekah Lewis and Bryce Herda cases can be found here on my reddit profile. https://www.reddit.com/useQuirky-Motor
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Washington tribes find new energy to vote in 2020 election, pour campaign cash into races

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/washington-tribes-find-new-energy-to-vote-in-2020-election-pour-campaign-cash-into-races/
By Lynda V. Mapes and Jim Brunner
LUMMI NATION — Freddie Lane gathered up T-shirts, posters and signs at the tribal administration building, getting ready for a Native Vote 2020 rally, planned for later this month at Lummi and reservations across the state.
All over the get-out-the-vote swag was the image of a woman, stoic and resolute.
She is “Lummi Woman,” as the haunting photo made by Edward Curtis in 1899 is called. She was photographed in the midst of historic change after her people in 1855 signed a treaty with the United States, ceding vast swaths of their land. Yet the nation’s first people were the last to receive citizenship, under the Snyder Act passed by Congress in 1924. And it wasn’t until 1962 that every state in the nation secured the right to vote for Native people.
Today Lummi Woman’s descendants, in part to honor their ancestors and protect all that their elders reserved for them in the treaties, are rallying to get out the vote and be heard in the 2020 election.
Tribal leaders see everything at stake, from their way of life to their treaty rights, in the election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump has signed some bills important to Native Americans, including compensation to the Spokane people for loss of their lands in the mid-1900s, and reauthorization of funding Native language programs. And he did not block federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe of the Chippewa Indians in Montana.
But the bigger picture is bleak from a Native perspective.
Among their concerns, Trump has downplayed the threat of a pandemic that is ravaging some tribal nations. And he has ignored the scientific evidence for climate change, even as rising sea levels are causing havoc for coastal tribes like the Hoh and as intensifying wildfires are repeatedly roasting thousands of acres of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation in Eastern Washington.
The administration’s environmental policies have been particularly offensive to tribes that rely on natural resources for their economies and cultural practices. The Trump Administration has even rolled back clean water regulations in Washington intended to protect the purity of foods that are critical to tribes, including salmon.
Every election is important. But to Native people, this election feels more like a matter of survival.
“This is for the sake of our ancestors who fought to protect us,” said Candice Wilson, former vice chair of the Lummi business council and active in the get-out-the-vote campaign. “We have the responsibility to do the same, or what will our grandchildren have? The strength of our ancestors is what makes us strong today. This is about the future.”
Tribes have already put millions of dollars of contributions into the election, according to a Times analysis of state and federal records of campaign spending. Voter registration and voter turnout also are at the heart of tribes’ election strategy.
“It’s critical,” said Lane, who last week was helping to organize the Lummi Native Vote 2020 rally, taking place Oct. 20.
Teresa Taylor, interim economic development director for the Lummi Nation, knows better than most the importance of voter turnout. She lost her reelection to the Ferndale City Council last year on a coin toss after a tie vote failed to decide the contest. “I can tell you, every vote counts,” she said, while at a planning meeting for the rally.
While they run their own governments and nations, tribes care deeply about the partners they govern with, from city councils and utility boards to school boards, judges, members of the state Legislature, and of course the governor and members of Congress and president of the United States.
That is because exercise of tribal sovereignty and even the most fundamental aspects of protecting and continuing their way of life depends on productive government-to-government relationships at every level, said Nikki Finkbonner, interim general manager for the Lummi Nation.
So much comes down to good governance with partners that honor tribal treaties and cultural imperatives, she explained, from protection of cultural resources and sacred sites, to federal funding for tribal education and housing, health care programs, and protecting natural resources and treaty rights.
“This election means so much for us right now,” said Rodney Cawston, chairman of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation. “I don’t know how we are going to survive another four years if things don’t change.”

Tribes rally with new energy

Not since the campaign by the late GOP Sen. Slade Gorton, infamous in Indian Country for fighting treaty-protected fishing rights all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, have tribes been so energized by a federal election.
“We have 574 federally recognized tribes in the U.S., and 500 who knew who Slade Gorton was,” remembered Julie Johnson, chair of the Native American Caucus for the Washington State Democrats. “All these tribes would say, ‘What are you going to do about him?’”
Plenty, it turned out. In his faceoff with challenger Maria Cantwell in 2000, tribes were regarded as the deciding edge in the tightest U.S. Senate race in Washington history.
Today, Johnson, 78, has been helping to lead a Native voter registration drive and voter turnout effort across the region. Over her lifetime she has seen a big change in Indian political activism, Johnson said, from days of apathy and even being afraid to participate in politics off the reservation.
“A lot of our people wouldn’t register to vote, and I understood that. For years I remember non-Indians shooting bullets into (Indian fishing) boats,” said Johnson, a Lummi tribal member, living in Neah Bay. “I understand why our Native people don’t register.”
But she, and others, also have been bound and determined to change that. “It is good and positive to see our people sitting behind those desks in Olympia and in Washington, D.C.
“We have really increased the Native vote, and it is very powerful, even our people don’t realize how powerful it is, we are getting so many more people involved.”

Tribes bring casino cash to campaigns

For so long they were disenfranchised in their own land, and once too poor to take care of their own people, let alone heft campaign clout.
But today tribes in Washington are active participants in politics. Some tribes with larger casinos also have become important players in funding campaigns.
Since 2016, Washington-based tribes have donated more than $3 million to candidates for federal and state offices in Washington, according to contribution data maintained by the National Institute on Money in Politics (FollowTheMoney.org). Of that, nearly $2.5 million went to Democrats, not including donations to political committees such as the Democratic National Committee or state parties.
This year alone, Washington tribes have donated more than $1.3 million to candidates and political committees for state and local offices, according to a Seattle Times analysis of contribution data filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission (PDC). The Muckleshoots and Puyallups led the way, accounting for nearly half that total.
The tribal political giving skews overwhelmingly to Democrats in a state where the party has largely held the reins of power for decades. But the biggest-spending tribes also spread the money around, donating to Republican incumbents in the state Legislature.
So far in 2020, the Muckleshoot Tribe has donated roughly $212,000 to Democratic candidates and committees in state and local races, compared with about $123,000 to Republicans. The Puyallup Tribe has given nearly $240,000 to Democrats, and about $70,000 to Republicans.
The largest donations have gone to party political committees, which can accept unlimited donations.
The Puyallup Tribe on Sept. 30 donated $100,000 to the state Democratic Party. The Muckleshoot Tribe in July donated $100,000 to a pair of political committees — the Harry Truman and Kennedy funds — dedicated to maintaining Democratic majorities in the state House and Senate.
The Muckleshoot Tribe in August donated $35,000 to the Reagan Fund, which works to elect Republicans to the state House. A month earlier, the tribe gave $40,000 to the Leadership Council, the committee associated with state Senate Republicans.
Some tribes also are leading contributors in Washington to federal campaign coffers.
The Puyallup Tribe is in a class by itself for campaign contributions so far on federal campaigns this year since January 2019, with more than $2.2 million spent, far and away more than any other Washington tribe, according to data from the Federal Election Commission reports of contributions for 2019-20.
That includes the top six biggest contributions from Washington to the Democratic National Committee, totaling $639,000 since September 2019.
While most contributions from the Puyallup Tribe were for Democratic candidates and committees, the tribe also gave repeatedly to GOP House members Dan Newhouse, of Sunnyside, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, of Spokane, as well as $35,500 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
The tribe declined to discuss its campaign contributions, spokesperson Michael Thompson said.

Worry pandemic could suppress vote

It’s not an easy year for political activism, with the risk of coronavirus infection stalking reservations. That has shut down the in-person gatherings so central in Native life and in political campaigns. Some tribal leaders fear the pandemic also will suppress turnout, particularly in rural reservations where voting means leaving the house to drive distances to drop off a ballot.
“We have people refusing to go out; how do we get them to take a ballot to be mailed? This pandemic is going to take us back 10 years in terms of voting,” said Norma Sanchez, a member of the tribal business council for the Colville tribes, whose reservation sprawls across more than 1,500 square miles of rural, north central Washington.
To get out the vote the tribe handed out voter information and registration forms during food bank drive-thrus, said Karen Condon, another member of the business council. “I have been talking to people and encouraging them to vote and to register to vote.”
Just getting a ballot drop box outside the tribal administration building was a breakthrough for this tribe, Condon said, where for so many years too many have not registered to vote, and many today still don’t see why it matters.
But that has to change this year, said Cawston, the Colville tribal chairman. His people are reeling from damage over the past four years.
“It has been a challenge, every facet of our life has been touched and not in a good way. We are just so much under attack, we don’t know where to go, or where to turn any more,” Cawston said.
“We are just constantly facing a losing battle here, it is almost fearful for us to face the next four years and what could happen.”
Lynda V. Mapes: 206-464-2515 or [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]); on Twitter: @LyndaVMapes. Lynda specializes in coverage of the environment, natural history, and Native American tribes.Jim Brunner: 206-515-5628 or [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]); on Twitter: @Jim_Brunner. Seattle Times political reporter Jim Brunner covers state, local and regional politics.
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Megathread 2: Donald Trump Leaked Video and Campaign Statement; GOP Statements

Please find the original megathread linked here, this is a continuation and expansion in light of additional conversation and more news.
This thread is for discussion of the leaked 2005 video in which Donald Trump discussed women, his online statement/taped apology following that tonight, and reactions from GOP officials including but not limited to unendorsements.
Reminder that this thread is for on-topic and civil discussion. Please be nice, and discuss the issue at hand.

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Billy Bush was already polarizing. His lewd Donald Trump conversation makes things much worse. sheshesheila
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What a USL D1 league might look like

TL;DR: Man with too much time on his hands goes deep down the rabbit hole on a concept this sub already didn’t seem that enthusiastic about. If you really want to skip ahead, CTRL+F “verdict” and it’ll get you there.
Two days ago, u/MrPhillyj2wns made a post asking whether USL should launch a D1 league in order to compete in Concacaf. From the top voted replies, it appears this made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.
But I’ve been at home for eight weeks and I am terribly, terribly bored.
So, I present to you this overview of what the USL pyramid might look like if Jake Edwards got a head of steam and attempted to establish a USSF-sanctioned first division. This is by no means an endorsement of such a proposal or even a suggestion that USL SHOULD do such a thing. It is merely an examination of whether they COULD.
Welcome to the Thunderdome USL Premiership
First, there are some base-level assumptions we must make in this exercise, because it makes me feel more scientific and not like a guy who wrote this on Sunday while watching the Belarusian Premier League (Go BATE Borisov!).
  1. All D1 teams must comply with known USSF requirements for D1 leagues (more on that later).
  2. MLS, not liking this move, will immediately remove all directly-owned affiliate clubs from the USL structure (this does not include hybrid ownerships, like San Antonio FC – NYCFC). This removes all MLS2 teams but will not affect Colorado Springs, Reno, RGVFC and San Antonio.
  3. The USL will attempt to maintain both the USL Championship and USL League One, with an eventual mind toward creating the pro/rel paradise that is promised in Relegations 3:16.
  4. All of my research regarding facility size and ownership net worth is correct – this is probably the biggest leap of faith we have to make, since googling “NAME net worth” and “CITY richest people” doesn’t seem guaranteed to return accurate results.
  5. The most a club can increase its available seating capacity to meet D1 requirements in a current stadium is no more than 1,500 seats (10% of the required 15,000). If they need to add more, they’ll need a new facility.
  6. Let’s pretend that people are VERY willing to sell. It’s commonly acknowledged that the USL is a more financially feasible route to owning a soccer club than in MLS (c.f. MLS-Charlotte’s reported $325 million expansion fee) and the USSF has some very strict requirements for D1 sanctioning. It becomes pretty apparent when googling a lot of team’s owners that this requirement isn’t met, so let’s assume everyone that can’t sells to people who meet the requirements.
(Known) USSF D1 league requirements:
- League must have 12 teams to apply and 14 teams by year three
- Majority owner must have a net worth of $40 million, and the ownership group must have a total net worth of $70 million. The value of an owned stadium is not considered when calculating this value.
- Must have teams located in the Eastern, Central and Pacific time zones
- 75% of league’s teams must be based in markets with at a metro population of at least 1 million people.
- All league stadiums must have a capacity of at least 15,000
The ideal club candidate for the USL Premiership will meet the population and capacity requirements in its current ground, which will have a grass playing surface. Of the USL Championship’s 27 independent/hybrid affiliate clubs, I did not find one club that meets all these criteria as they currently stand.
Regarding turf fields, the USSF does not have a formal policy regarding the ideal playing surface but it is generally acknowledged that grass is superior to turf. 6 of 26 MLS stadiums utilize turf, or roughly 23% of stadiums. We’ll hold a similar restriction for our top flight, so 2-3 of our top flight clubs can have turf fields. Seem fair?
Capacity is going to be the biggest issue, since the disparity between current requirements for the second-tier (5,000) and the first tier (15,000) is a pretty massive gap. Nice club you have there, triple your capacity and you’re onto something. As a result, I have taken the liberty of relocating certain (read: nearly all) clubs to new grounds, trying my utmost to keep those clubs in their current markets and –importantly--, ensure they play on grass surfaces.
So, let’s do a case-by-case evaluation and see if we can put together 12-14 teams that meet the potential requirements, because what else do you have to do?
For each club’s breakdown, anything that represents a chance from what is currently true will be underlined.
Candidate: Birmingham Legion FC
Location (Metro population): Birmingham, Ala. (1,151,801)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Legion Field (FieldTurf, 71,594)
Potential owner: Stephens Family (reported net worth $4 billion)
Notes: Birmingham has a pretty strong candidacy. Having ditched the 5,000-seater BBVA Field for Legion Field, which sits 2.4 miles away, they’ve tapped into the city’s soccer history. Legion Field hosted portions of both the men’s and women’s tournaments at the 1996 Olympics, including a 3-1 U.S. loss to Argentina that saw 83,183 pack the house. The Harbert family seemed like strong ownership contenders, but since the death of matriarch Marguerite Harbert in 2015, it’s unclear where the wealth in the family is concentrated, so the Stephens seem like a better candidate. The only real knock that I can think of is that we really want to avoid having clubs play on turf, so I’d say they’re on the bubble of our platonic ideal USL Prem.
Candidate: Charleston Battery
Location (Metro population): Charleston, S.C. (713,000)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Johnson Hagood Stadium (Grass, ~14,700)
Potential owner: Anita Zucker (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: Charleston’s candidacy isn’t looking great. Already disadvantaged due to its undersized metro population, a move across the Cooper River to Johnson Hagood Stadium is cutting it close in terms of capacity. The stadium, home to The Citadel’s football team, used to seat 21,000, before 9,300 seats on the eastern grandstand were torn down in 2017 to deal with lead paint that had been used in their construction. Renovation plans include adding 3,000 seats back in, which could hit 15,000 if they bumped it to 3,300, but throw in a required sale by HCFC, LLC (led by content-creation platform founder Rob Salvatore) to chemical magnate Anita Zucker, and you’ll see there’s a lot of ifs and ands in this proposal.
Candidate: Charlotte Independence
Location (Metro population): Charlotte, N.C. (2,569, 213)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Jerry Richardson Stadium (Turf, 15,314)
Potential owner: James Goodnight (reported net worth $9.1 billion)
Notes: Charlotte ticks a lot of the boxes. A move from the Sportsplex at Matthews to UNC-Charlotte’s Jerry Richardson stadium meets capacity requirements, but puts them on to the dreaded turf. Regrettably, nearby American Legion Memorial Stadium only seats 10,500, despite a grass playing surface. With a sizeable metro population (sixth-largest in the USL Championship) and a possible owner in software billionaire James Goodnight, you’ve got some options here. The biggest problem likely lies in direct competition for market share against a much better-funded MLS Charlotte side due to join the league in 2021.
Candidate: Hartford Athletic
Location (Metro population): Hartford, Conn. (1,214,295)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Pratt & Whitney Stadium (Grass, 38,066)
Potential owner: Ray Dalio (reported net worth $18.4 billion)
Notes: Okay, I cheated a bit here, having to relocate Hartford to Pratt & Whitney Stadium, which is technically in East Hartford, Conn. I don’t know enough about the area to know if there’s some kind of massive beef between the two cities, but the club has history there, having played seven games in 2019 while Dillon Stadium underwent renovations. If the group of local businessmen that currently own the club manage to attract Dalio to the table, we’re on to something.
Candidate: Indy Eleven
Location (Metro population): Indianapolis, Ind. (2,048,703)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lucas Oil Stadium (Turf, 62,421)
Potential owner: Jim Irsay (reported net worth of $3 billion)
Notes: Indy Eleven are a club that are SO CLOSE to being an ideal candidate – if it weren’t for Lucas Oil Stadium’s turf playing surface. Still, there’s a lot to like in this bid. I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what current owner and founder Ersal Ozdemir is worth, but it seems like there might be cause for concern. A sale to Irsay, who also owns the NFL Indianapolis (nee Baltimore) Colts, seems likely to keep the franchise there, rather than make a half-mile move to 14,230 capacity Victory Field where the AAA Indianapolis Indians play and expand from there.
Candidate: Louisville City FC
Location (Metro population): Louisville, Ky. (1,297,310)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lynn Family Stadium (Grass, 14,000, possibly expandable to 20,000)
Potential owner: Wayne Hughes (reported net worth $2.8 billion)
Notes: I’m stretching things a bit here. Lynn Family stadium is currently listed as having 11,700 capacity that’s expandable to 14,000, but they’ve said that the ground could hold as many as 20,000 with additional construction, which might be enough to grant them a temporary waiver from USSF. If the stadium is a no-go, then there’s always Cardinal Stadium, home to the University of Louisville’s football team, which seats 65,000 but is turf. Either way, it seems like a sale to someone like Public Storage founder Wayne Hughes will be necessary to ensure the club has enough capital.
Candidate: Memphis 901 FC
Location (Metro population): Memphis, Tenn. (1,348,260)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Liberty Bowl Stadium (Turf, 58,325)
Potential owner: Fred Smith (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: Unfortunately for Memphis, AutoZone Park’s 10,000 seats won’t cut it at the D1 level. With its urban location, it would likely prove tough to renovate, as well. Liberty Bowl Stadium more than meets the need, but will involve the use of the dreaded turf. As far as an owner goes, FedEx founder Fred Smith seems like a good local option.
Candidate: Miami FC, “The”
Location (Metro population): Miami, Fla. (6,158,824)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Riccardo Silva Stadium (FieldTurf, 20,000)
Potential owner: Riccardo Silva (reported net worth $1 billion)
Notes: Well, well, well, Silva might get his wish for top-flight soccer, after all. He’s got the money, he’s got the metro, and his ground has the capacity. There is the nagging issue of the turf, though. Hard Rock Stadium might present a solution, including a capacity of 64,767 and a grass playing surface. It is worth noting, however, that this is the first profile where I didn’t have to find a new potential owner for a club.
Candidate: North Carolina FC
Location (Metro population): Durham, N.C. (1,214,516 in The Triangle)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Carter-Finley Stadium (Grass/Turf, 57,583)
Potential owner: Steve Malik (precise net worth unknown) / Dennis Gillings (reported net worth of $1.7 billion)
Notes: We have our first “relocation” in North Carolina FC, who were forced to trade Cary’s 10,000-seat WakeMed Soccer Park for Carter-Finley Stadium in Durham, home of the NC State Wolfpack and 57,583 of their closest friends. The move is a whopping 3.1 miles, thanks to the close-knit hub that exists between Cary, Durham and Raleigh. Carter-Finley might be my favorite of the stadium moves in this exercise. The field is grass, but the sidelines are artificial turf. Weird, right? Either way, it was good enough for Juventus to play a friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara there in 2011. Maybe the move would be pushed for by new owner and medical magnate Dennis Gillings, whose British roots might inspire him to get involved in the Beautiful Game. Straight up, though, I couldn’t find a net worth for current owner Steve Malik, though he did sell his company MedFusion for $91 million in 2010, then bought it back for an undisclosed amount and sold it again for $43 million last November. I don’t know if Malik has the juice to meet D1 requirements, but I suspect he’s close.
Candidate: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Location (Metro population): Pittsburgh, Penn. (2,362,453)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Heinz Field (Grass, 64,450)
Potential owner: Henry Hillman (reported net worth $2.5 billion)
Notes: I don’t know a ton about the Riverhounds, but this move in particular feels like depriving a pretty blue-collar club from its roots. Highmark Stadium is a no-go from a seating perspective, but the Steelers’ home stadium at Heinz Field would more than meet the requirements and have a grass surface that was large enough to be sanctioned for a FIFA friendly between the U.S. WNT and Costa Rica in 2015. As for an owner, Tuffy Shallenberger (first ballot owner name HOF) doesn’t seem to fit the USSF bill, but legendary Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Hillman might. I’m sure you’re asking, why not the Rooney Family, if they’ll play at Heinz Field? I’ll tell you: I honestly can’t seem to pin down a value for the family. The Steelers are valued at a little over a billion and rumors persist that Dan Rooney is worth $500 million, but I’m not sure. I guess the Rooneys would work too, but it’s a definite departure from an owner in Shallenberger who was described by one journalist as a guy who “wears boots, jeans, a sweater and a trucker hat.”
Candidate: Saint Louis FC
Location (Metro population): St. Louis, Mo. (2,807,338)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Busch Stadium (Grass, 45,494)
Potential owner: William DeWitt Jr. (reported net worth $4 billion)
Notes: Saint Louis has some weirdness in making the jump to D1. Current CEO Jim Kavanaugh is an owner of the MLS side that will begin play in 2022. The club’s current ground at West Community Stadium isn’t big enough, but perhaps a timely sale to Cardinals owner William DeWitt Jr. could see the club playing games at Busch Stadium, which has a well established history of hosting other sports like hockey, college football and soccer (most recently a U.S. WNT friendly against New Zealand in 2019). The competition with another MLS franchise wouldn’t be ideal, like Charlotte, but with a big enough population and cross marketing from the Cardinals, maybe there’s a winner here. Wacko idea: If Busch doesn’t pan out, send them to The Dome. Sure, it’s a 60k turf closed-in stadium, but we can go for that retro NASL feel and pay homage to our nation’s soccer history.
Candidate: Tampa Bay Rowdies
Location (Metro population): Tampa, Fla. (3,068,511)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Raymond James Stadium (Grass, 65,518)
Potential owner: Edward DeBartolo Jr. (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: This one makes me sad. Despite having never been there, I see Al Lang Stadium as an iconic part of the Rowdies experience. Current owner Bill Edwards proposed an expansion to 18,000 seats in 2016, but the move seems to have stalled out. Frustrated with the city’s lack of action, Edwards sells to one-time San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., who uses his old NFL connections to secure a cushy lease at the home of the Buccaneers in Ray Jay, the site of a 3-1 thrashing of Antigua and Barbuda during the United States’ 2014 World Cup Qualifying campaign.
Breather. Hey, we finished the Eastern Conference teams. Why are you still reading this? Why am I still writing it? Time is a meaningless construct in 2020 my friends, we are adrift in the void, fueled only by brief flashes of what once was and what may yet still be.
Candidate: Austin Bold FC
Location (Metro population): Austin, Texas (2,168,316)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 95,594)
Potential owner: Michael Dell (reported net worth of $32.3 billion)
Notes: Anthony Precourt’s Austin FC has some unexpected competition and it comes in the form of tech magnate Michael Dell. Dell, were he to buy the club, would be one of the richest owners on our list and could flash his cash in the new first division. Would he have enough to convince Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (I’m not kidding, that’s its actual name) to go back to a grass surface, like it did from ’96-’08? That’s between Dell and nearly 100,000 UT football fans, but everything can be had for the right price.
Candidate: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Location (Metro population): Colorado Springs, Colo. (738,939)
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Falcon Stadium (FieldTurf, 46,692)
Potential owner: Charles Ergen (reported net worth $10.8 billion)
Notes: Welcome to Colorado Springs. We have hurdles. For the first time in 12 candidates, we’re back below the desired 1 million metro population mark. Colorado Springs actually plans to build a $35 million, 8,000 seat venue downtown that will be perfect for soccer, but in our timeline that’s 7,000 seats short. Enter Falcon Stadium, home of the Air Force Academy Falcons football team. Seems perfect except for the turf, right? Well, the tricky thing is that Falcon Stadium is technically on an active military base and is (I believe) government property. Challenges to getting in and out of the ground aside, the military tends to have a pretty grim view of government property being used by for-profit enterprises. Maybe Charles Ergen, founder and chairman of Dish Network, would be able to grease the right wheels, but you can go ahead and throw this into the “doubtful” category. It’s a shame, too. 6,035 feet of elevation is one hell of a home-field advantage.
Candidate: El Paso Locomotive FC
Location: El Paso, Texas
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Sun Bowl (FieldTurf, 51,500)
Potential owner: Paul Foster (reported net worth $1.7 billion)
Notes: God bless Texas. When compiling this list, I found so many of the theoretical stadium replacements were nearly serviceable by high school football fields. That’s insane, right? Anyway, Locomotive don’t have to settle for one of those, they’ve got the Sun Bowl, which had its capacity reduced in 2001 to a paltry 51,500 (from 52,000) specifically to accommodate soccer. Sure, it’s a turf surface, but what does new owner Paul Foster (who is only the 1,477th wealthiest man in the world, per Forbes) care, he’s got a team in a top league. Side note: Did you know that the Sun Bowl college football game is officially, through sponsorship, the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl? Why is it not the Frosted Flakes Sun Bowl? Why is the cereal mascot the promotional name of the football game? What are you doing, Kellogg’s?
Candidate: Las Vegas Lights FC
Location: Las Vegas, Nev. (2,227,053)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Allegiant Stadium (Grass, 61,000)
Potential owner: Sheldon Adelson (reported net worth $37.7 billion)
Notes: Sin City. You had to know that the club that once signed Freddy Adu because “why not” was going to go all out in our flashy hypothetical proposal. Thanks to my narrative control of this whole thing, they have. Adelson is the second-richest owner in the league and has decided to do everything first class. That includes using the new Raiders stadium in nearby unincorporated Paradise, Nevada, and spending boatloads on high profile transfers. Zlatan is coming back to the U.S., confirmed.
Candidate: New Mexico United
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Isotopes Park – officially Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park (Grass, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion)
Potential owner: Maloof Family (reported net worth $1 billion)
Notes: New Mexico from its inception went deep on the community vibe, and I’ve tried to replicate that in this bid. The home field of Rio Grande Cr---I’m not typing out the whole thing—Isotopes Park falls just within the expansion rules we set to make it to 15,000 (weird, right?) and they’ve found a great local ownership group in the Lebanese-American Maloof (formerly Maalouf) family from Las Vegas. The only thing to worry about would be the metro population, but overall, this could be one of the gems of USL Prem.
Candidate: Oklahoma City Energy FC
Location: Oklahoma City, Okla. (1,396,445)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (Grass, 13,066)
Potential owner: Harold Hamm (reported net worth $14.2 billion)
Notes: There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow and it says it’s time to change stadiums and owners to make it to D1. A sale to oil magnate Harold Hamm would give the club the finances it needs, but Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (home of the OKC Dodgers) actually falls outside of the boundary of what would meet capacity if 1,500 seats were added. Could the club pull off a move to Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma – home of the Oklahoma Sooners? Maybe, but at 20 miles, this would be a reach.
Candidate: Orange County SC
Location: Irvine, Calif. (3,176, 000 in Orange County)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Angels Stadium of Anaheim (Grass, 43,250)
Potential owner: Arte Moreno (reported net worth $3.3 billion)
Notes: You’ll never convince me that Rangers didn’t choose to partner with Orange County based primarily on its name. Either way, a sale to MLB Angels owner Arte Moreno produces a fruitful partnership, with the owner choosing to play his newest club out of the existing Angels stadium in OC. Another baseball conversion, sure, but with a metro population of over 3 million and the closest thing this hypothetical league has to an LA market, who’s complaining?
Candidate: Phoenix Rising FC
Location: Phoenix, Ariz. (4,857,962)
Time zone: Arizona
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): State Farm Stadium (Grass, 63,400)
Potential owner: Ernest Garcia II (reported net worth $5.7 billion)
Notes: We’re keeping it local with new owner and used car guru Ernest Garcia II. His dad owned a liquor store and he dropped out of college, which is making me feel amazing about my life choices right now. Casino Arizona Field is great, but State Farm Stadium is a grass surface that hosted the 2019 Gold Cup semifinal, so it’s a clear winner. Throw in Phoenix’s massive metro population and this one looks like a lock.
Candidate: Reno 1868 FC
Location: Reno, Nev. (425,417)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Mackay Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000)
Potential owner: Nancy Walton Laurie (reported net worth $7.1 billion)
Notes: The Biggest Little City on Earth has some serious barriers to overcome, thanks to its low metro population. A sale to Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie and 1.6 mile-move to Mackay Stadium to split space with the University of Nevada, Reno makes this bid competitive, but the turf surface is another knock against it.
Candidate: Rio Grande Valley FC
Location: Edinburg, Texas (900,304)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): McAllen Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion)
Potential owner: Alice Louise Walton (reported net worth $45 billion)
Notes: Yes, I have a second straight Walmart heiress on the list. She was the first thing that popped up when I googled “McAllen Texas richest people.” The family rivalry has spurred Walton to buy a club as well, moving them 10 miles to McAllen Memorial Stadium which, as I alluded to earlier, is a straight up high school football stadium with a full color scoreboard. Toss in an additional 1,500 seats and you’ve met the minimum, despite the turf playing surface.
Candidate: San Antonio FC
Location: San Antonio, Texas (2,550,960)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Alamodome (FieldTurf, 64,000)
Potential owner: Red McCombs (reported net worth $1.6 billion)
Notes: I wanted to keep SAFC in the Spurs family, since the franchise is valued at $1.8 billion. That said, I didn’t let the Rooneys own the Riverhounds based on the Steelers’ value and it felt wrong to change the rules, so bring on Clear Channel co-founder Red McCombs. Toyota Field isn’t viable in the first division, but for the Alamodome, which was built in 1993 in hopes of attracting an NFL franchise (and never did), San Antonio can finally claim having *a* national football league team in its town (contingent on your definition of football). Now if only we could do something about that turf…
Candidate: San Diego Loyal SC
Location: San Diego, Calif. (3,317,749)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm) (Grass, 70,561)
Potential owner: Phil Mickelson (reported net worth $91 million)
Notes: Yes, golf’s Phil Mickelson. The existing ownership group didn’t seem to have the wherewithal to meet requirements, and Phil seemed to slot right in. As an athlete himself, he might be interesting in the new challenges of a top flight soccer team. Toss in a move to the former home of the chargers and you might have a basis for tremendous community support.
Candidate: FC Tulsa
Location: Tulsa, Okla. (991,561)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000)
Potential owner: George Kaiser ($10 billion)
Notes: I’m a fan of FC Tulsa’s rebrand, but if they want to make the first division, more changes are necessary. A sale to Tulsa native and one of the 100 richest men in the world George Kaiser means that funding is guaranteed. A move to Chapman Stadium would provide the necessary seats, despite the turf field. While the undersize population might be an issue at first glance, it’s hard to imagine U.S. Soccer not granting a waiver over a less than a 10k miss from the mark.
And that’s it! You made it. Those are all of the independent/hybrid affiliates in the USL Championship, which means that it’s time for our…
VERDICT: As an expert who has studied this issue for almost an entire day now, I am prepared to pronounce which USL Championships could be most ‘ready” for a jump to the USL Prem. A reminder that of the 27 clubs surveyed, 0 of them met our ideal criteria (proper ownership $, metro population, 15,000+ stadium with grass field).
Two of them, however, met almost all of those criteria: Indy Eleven and Miami FC. Those two clubs may use up two of our three available turf fields right from the outset, but the other factors they hit (particularly Silva’s ownership of Miami) makes them difficult, if not impossible to ignore for the top flight.
But who fill in the rest of the slots? Meet the entire 14-team USL Premier League:
Hartford Athletic
Indy Eleven
Louisville City FC
Miami FC
North Carolina FC
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Tampa Bay Rowdies
Saint Louis FC
San Antonio FC
New Mexico United
Phoenix Rising FC
Las Vegas Lights FC
Orange County SC
San Diego Loyal SC
Now, I shall provide my expert rationale for each club’s inclusion/exclusion, which can be roughly broken down into four categories.
Firm “yes”
Hartford Athletic: It’s a good market size with a solid stadium. With a decent investor and good community support, you’ve got potential here.
Indy Eleven: The turf at Lucas Oil Stadium is no reason to turn down a 62,421 venue and a metro population of over 2 million.
Louisville City FC: Why doesn’t the 2017 & 2018 USL Cup champion deserve a crack at the top flight? They have the market size, and with a bit of expansion have the stadium at their own SSS. LCFC, you’re in.
Miami FC, “The”: Our other blue-chip recruit on the basis of ownership value, market size and stadium capacity. Yes, that field is turf, but how could you snub Silva’s chance to claim victory as the first division 1 club soccer team to play in Miami?
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: Pittsburgh sacrificed a lot to be here (according to my arbitrary calculations). Their market size and the potential boon of soccer at Heinz Field is an important inclusion to the league.
Saint Louis FC: Willie hears your “Busch League” jokes, Willie don’t care. A huge market size, combined with the absence of an NFL franchise creates opportunity. Competition with the MLS side, sure, but St. Louis has serious soccer history and we’re willing to bet it can support two clubs.
Tampa Bay Rowdies: With a huge population and a massive stadium waiting nearby, Tampa Bay seems like too good of an opportunity to pass up for the USL Prem.
Las Vegas Lights FC: Ostentatious, massive and well-financed, Las Vegas Lights FC is everything that the USL Premier League would need to assert that it didn’t intend to play second fiddle to MLS. Players will need to be kept on a short leash, but this is a hard market to pass up on.
Phoenix Rising FC: Huge population, big grass field available nearby and a solid history of success in recent years. No brainer.
San Diego Loyal SC: New club? Yes, massive population in a market that recently lost an absolutely huge sports presence? Also yes. This could be the USL Prem’s Seattle.
Cautious “yes”
New Mexico United: You have to take a chance on New Mexico United. The club set the league on fire with its social media presence and its weight in the community when it entered the league last season. The market may be slightly under USSF’s desired 1 million, but fervent support (and the ability to continue to use Isotopes Park) shouldn’t be discounted.
North Carolina FC: Carter-Finley’s mixed grass/turf surface is a barrier, to be sure, but the 57,000+ seats it offers (and being enough to offset other fully-turf offerings) is enough to put it in the black.
Orange County SC: It’s a top-tier club playing in a MLB stadium. I know it seems unlikely that USSF would approve something like that, but believe me when I say “it could happen.” Orange County is a massive market and California likely needs two clubs in the top flight.
San Antonio FC: Our third and only voluntary inclusion to the turf fields in the first division, we’re counting on San Antonio’s size and massive potential stadium to see it through.
Cautious “no”
Birmingham Legion FC: The town has solid soccer history and a huge potential venue, but the turf playing surface puts it on the outside looking in.
Memphis 901 FC: Like Birmingham, not much to dislike here outside of the turf playing surface at the larger playing venue.
Austin Bold FC: See the other two above.
FC Tulsa: Everything’s just a little bit off with this one. Market’s slightly too small, stadium has turf. Just not enough to put it over the top.
Firm “no”
Charleston Battery: Small metro and a small potential new stadium? It’s tough to say yes to the risk.
Charlotte Independence: A small new stadium and the possibility of having to compete with an organization that just paid over $300 million to join MLS means it’s best for this club to remain in the USL Championship.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: When a club’s best chance to meet a capacity requirement is to host games at a venue controlled by the military, that doesn’t speak well to a club’s chances.
El Paso Locomotive FC: An undersized market and a turf field that meets capacity requirements is the death knell for this one.
Oklahoma City Energy FC: Having to expand a baseball field to meet requirements is a bad start. Having to potentially play 20 miles away from your main market is even worse.
Reno 1868 FC: Population nearly a half-million short of the federation’s requirements AND a turf field at the hypothetical new stadium makes impossible to say yes to this bid.
Rio Grande Valley FC: All the seat expansions in the world can’t hide the fact that McAllen Memorial Stadium is a high school stadium through and through.
Here’s who’s left in the 11-team Championship:
Birmingham Legion FC
Charleston Battery
Charlotte Independence
Memphis 901 FC
Austin Bold FC
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
El Paso Locomotive FC
Oklahoma City Energy FC
Reno 1868 FC
Rio Grande Valley FC
FC Tulsa
With MLS folding the six affiliates it has in USL League One, the league is a little bit thin (especially considering USSF’s requirements for 8 teams for lower level leagues), but seems definitely able to expand up to the necessary numbers with Edwards’ allusions to five new additions this year:
Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
Forward Madison FC
Greenville Triumph SC
Union Omaha
Richmond Kickers
South Georgia Tormenta
FC Tucson
Format of Assorted Leagues – This (like everything in this post) is pure conjecture on my part, but here are my thoughts on how these leagues might function in a first year while waiting for additional expansion.
USL Premier – We’ll steal from the 12-team Scottish Premiership. Each club plays the other 11 clubs 3 times, with either one or two home matches against each side. When each club has played 33 matches, the top six and bottom six separate, with every club playing an additional five matches (against each other team in its group). The top club wins the league. The bottom club is automatically relegated. The second-bottom club will enter a two-legged playoff against someone (see below) from the championship playoffs.
USL Championship -- 11 clubs is a challenge to schedule for. How about every club plays everyone else three times (either one or two home matches against each side)? Top four clubs make the playoffs, which are decided by two-legged playoffs. The winner automatically goes up. I need feedback on the second part – is it better to have the runner-up from the playoffs face the second-bottom club from the Premiership, or should the winner of the third-place match-up get the chance to face them to keep drama going in both playoff series? As for relegation, we can clearly only send down the last place club while the third division is so small.
USL League One – While the league is so small, it doesn’t seem reasonable to have the clubs play as many matches as the higher divisions. Each club could play the other six clubs four times – twice at home and twice away – for a very equitable 24-match regular season, which would help restrict costs and still provide a chance to determine a clear winner. Whoever finishes top of the table goes up.
And there you have it, a hypothetical look at how the USL could build a D1 league right now. All it would take is a new stadium for almost the entire league and new owners for all but one of the 27 clubs, who wouldn’t feel that their property would be massively devalued if they got relegated.
Well that’s our show. I’m curious to see what you think of all of this, especially anything that you think I may have overlooked (I’m sure there’s plenty). Anyway, I hope you’re all staying safe and well.
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A Cliff Notes Summary of the First One Out Interviews

If you haven't had time to listen to seven hours of podcast interviews, or you didn't retain everything you heard, here are some key points. I didn't think to do this until just now, so I'll be posting it as a work in progress and updating it throughout the afternoon. That way more people will have a chance to read up before the premiere.
Karishma Patel, 37, Personal Injury Trial Lawyer, Houston, TX -First generation Indian-American Her mom was as a legal assistant, and got her a filing job at her law firm when she was 14. "I didn't have other options. I was basically told I was going to be a lawyer and I didn't disagree."She has watched every season and regularly listens to RHAP. She sits close to the TV to study the inflections on people's faces when something is said to them, so that she can think about what that means. But, her parents and husband don't share her enthusiasm for the show. Asked if it's her dark pleasure she says, "It is completely bright. It is a beautiful pleasure of mine, but it is mine and mine only. I haven't been able to find people to share it with." -Doing the show has caused her conflict. "Not only is it not expected, it's not allowed. It's kind of like being a disobedient Indian girl. You're not supposed to be doing this. What you're supposed to be doing is having babies. But I don't care. I'm a risk taker. I'm here to prove to myself that I don't need to listen to anybody else. I don't need permission from anybody else. This is my journey and I'm going to take it. I hope that people watching out there can see that an Indian woman's value does not come from doing what she's told." -She doesn't currently have children, and she says she has some decisions to make as she enters a crossroads and the next stage of her life. -Her law firm told her they'll replace her if they're able to find someone, and she can have her job back if they don't. "I didn't flinch." -Her strategy is to be non-threatening and play a social game. She doesn't look 37, and she wants to use that youthfulness to be disarming. She wants to build relationships other people believe in. She defines success by other people vouching for her loyalty when they go off and have private conversations with one another. "That means I got 'em, because it's actually the other way around." Asked if she wants to find someone she can trust, "I'm not going to be capable of it. I'm too skeptical for that. I overthink things, so I'm not going to be able to trust somebody the way I want to be trusted... If I do, that's the end of my game."
My take: Oh my God. Poor Karishma. Her story hurts my heart. She reminds me so much of myself in her isolation, her defiance and her deep feelings. I worry that her fear of trusting people could get in the way of her forming genuine bonds. But, there's nothing she can do. Society has made her the way she is. I hope she gets a lot of screen time so she can be a star of her favorite show.
Missy Byrd, 24, Military Veteran/App Developer, Tacoma, Washington -Originally from Georgia. Her family was 'decently poor.' She played basketball for the Air Force Academy because she thought it was her ticket out. -She had a brain tumor. She stopped menstruating for a year and two quarters. "I'm not dating anyone but I have breast milk. I'm a literal cow... I would look down and my shirt would be wet, and I thought, 'Dang you're clumsy. I knew you were clumsy, but you're clumsier today than you were yesterday. But it was - it was - uhh - milk." She had crying fits. She developed a stutter and couldn't look at people. Doctors told her she was just stressed. When her dad died she couldn't process emotions normally. She was about to go to the French version of the Air Force Academy, École de l'air, after graduation but because of her mental instability she was removed from school. The military shipped her to the same Air Force base as Sandra (Fort Lewis.) "I don't want to be there. Super sad. Check into the post office - fuck this. Check into the dorms - hate that." The doctor there found the tumor. She got an MRI and all weekend she believed she might have cancer. Over the next year and a half she eliminated the tumor and the symptoms using vitamins. She enlisted and worked logistics. -She made a list of the things she wanted to do now that she was going to live. "The first thing was go see Beyonce. Beyonce costs way too much money for a normal person to go see, but if you've just almost had a near death experience you go see Beyonce, bro!" She was feet away. She drove across the country. She tried weed. -She had an idea for an app, but didn't even have the computer literacy to use social media. She found a veteran's association and asked if she could intern. "They said, 'No, you should build this out yourself. We want to work for you.' I said, 'No, the fuck you don't. Okay, lemme call my grandma.'" She wrote a grant proposal and won a $1,500 office space in the center of Seattle. "Just to do whatever I want. It was like a laboratory for a child. I had Play-Dough up there. I had a white board... Just mind blowing shit when I could have been dead." -She'd seen every episode of Survivor at least three times. She started watching because her Air Force Academy basketball team was getting decimated, and she related to Foa Foa getting decimated in Survivor: Samoa. She added the show to her list. Josh suggests, "The bugs are eating you because they want some of that magic." -She isn't going to tell people her story until she's in the Final 3. "That's that Final 3 magic." She doesn't want to overly rely on strategy. She doesn't want to win individual challenges. She to build a social game and find ways to relate to everyone.
My take: She's so full of exuberance. There's not a negative bone in her body right now. She's too young and her life experience is too necessarily limited to talk around three years of her life. If she shares her story, the beauty of her perspective will cause everyone to fall in love with her and want her to do well. If she doesn't, people will sense that she's hiding a lot. I think she'll figure that out and course correct within the first day. Since she was at the same Air Force base as Sandra and she was a massive fan, does that suggest she knows her?

Ronnie Bardah, 35, Professional Poker Player, Henderson, Nevada-Born and raised in Brockton, Massachusetts, 20 minutes south of Boston. They were the only Israeli family in town. 50% of the people in Brockton were from Cape Verde, and he considers himself an "honorary Cape Verdian." A couple of his friends were shot and killed at a young age. -He was a good kid and had a good heart, but he was always hustling. In Junior High he was flipping Oatmeal Cakes and Fudge Rounds for a profit. Slinging baseball cards. Both his parents gambled. They were always at the dog tracks or Mohegan Sun. He had his friend make him a fake ID and got stuck with the name Alaja Jones. He went by Al and started playing the casinos. Quit his job at Sears Automotive to play poker full time.-He played Atlantic City, Vegas, then internationally. He had his first big score in 2010 when he took 24th place in the main event for $320,000. Got to keep $150,000 after taxes. "Poker's a hard way to make an easy living. Lots of people try. We risk every day. You have to get to a point when you can manage your bankroll and I've never gone broke in the 16 years I've played." -In one of the most viewed poker hands of all time, he was bluffed out of a million dollar pot by a supermodel on a poker TV show filmed in Monaco. "She made a sick play. She had no idea what she was doing but all the stars were aligned."-He watched Borneo when it aired and got back into it when fellow poker player Anna Khait was on. He calls Jean-Robert, "kinda a lazy guy...He's really good at befriending multi-millionaires." "Anna Khait... is probably the least poker player out of all of us. She played for a couple years." "And then Garrett - He's a very, very smart, smart kid... Self-made millionaire. One of the very, very few." -He only drank water for 7.5 days and lost 25 pounds for his health and to get an idea of the conditions of the show. He thinks he'll thrive in the survival situation. "People like being around me. I like to fucking bust balls and joke." He thinks old school alliances are a good plan, but you have to adapt. He says that like in poker, Survivor players can have every advantage, but they have to really smell it. -He wants Vince out. "There's an Asian Zeke in there. What value does he bring besides ruining people and getting in people's heads? He's a liability in challenges. He looks like a little corn puff. We gotta get him outta here. Sorry to sound so mean but it's the truth."
My take: Ruuuuude. He has no way of knowing how other people on the cast are talking in their interviews, and may assume the trash talk is standard. If he were playing on some seasons it would be. But, in this particular season it sets him apart in an unflattering way, and it seems a part of the tough persona he's built up to escape a scary situation growing up and enter a fantasy career. We'll see whether his tribe thinks he's a straight talking character or a jerk.

Tom Laidlaw, Former NHL Player, Brampton, Ontario, Canada -He was with the New York Rangers for 7 years and the LA Kings for 4. Now he has his own podcast, True Grit Life (truegritlife.com). Does it with a friend, Kevin Allen, who writes for USA Today. Does motivational speaking. -Growing up on a dairy farm outside Toronto there was a pond to water the cows. It froze over in the winters and he'd play hockey because there wasn't much else to do. Went to Northern Michigan University - four year hockey captain, ranked #1 team in the country. Drafted as a 20 year old. "My buddy had a horse farm. We were cleaning horse shit out of the stalls. There were no cell phones back then. This is 1978. My father got a call at our farm house from the New York Rangers at the draft. Back then nobody went to the draft - it was just teams. They said I'd been drafted in the sixth round. He calls the farm house where I'm working. They bring me up. He says, 'Son, you've been drafted by the Rangers.' I said, 'Great. What do I do now?' He says, 'Finish cleaning the shit out of the stalls.'" -When he played intimidation and fighting was strategy. There were guys tougher than him, but he could fight and he could also play. Problem was, he fought a guy once, and from then on the guy wanted to fight him over and over. -Jerry Bruckheimer, big hockey fan, called the NHL and wanted to get some players on the Amazing Race. Tom had kept himself in shape, he had his passport. They ended up asking him about Survivor. He'd watched it before but not for a while. He wasn't so sure he wanted to play a game where you hurt other people, but friends helped him get his head around it. He was very impressed by Christian's toughness in the endurance challenge. To prepare for the show he studied how he reacted to different situations, how to control his heart heart, etc. He wants the mental challenge.
My take: Tom really ticked me off when he spoiled a couple of outcomes of this season. That's a betrayal of the producers, his cast and the viewers. But, if that hadn't happened I would like him. He's an easy-going, charming guy. His life experiences are a bit different than anyone else who's been on the show, which is what you want.
Vince Moua, 27, Admissions Counselor, Merced, CA -His family is Hmong. His parents lived in Vietnam in the destruction left by the war - dead bodies, guns, people who wanted to kill them. They went to refugee camps in Thailand. Then his dad became a Montana farm hand. He met Vince's mom in the US, but she came from the same place. -Vince is from small town Merced, California - the 209. Few people he knew went anywhere but the UC system and community college. He went to Stanford, one of only 7-10 Hmong. He realized the significance someone can bring to people from the same community. He tried to be pre-med but realized "no, not today." The issues of access he cared about came well before people got to the hospital. He ended up going with education. His mom was a teacher, "But when I was growing up she said, 'Yo, if you become a teacher Imma disown yo ass.' To all of us. But, that's always kinda been my jam." -He lived in South Korea for five years. He taught English in a town. Then in Seoul ahed worked with low and middle income students who wanted to study outside of Korea. -He's a Survivor superfan, who even mentions on his Tinder account that he plans to be on Survivor. His parents were worried about him doing TV because he's not out as gay to his extended family. He comes from a clan where his dad is the "top dog" and Vince is "the next top dog." In the Asian American/Pacific Islander community when you come out, it's your family who faces - in a sense - dishonor. For a long time he distanced himself from his family, hoping they'd all be less hurt if they found out and disowned him. He always tried to find friends who would be there for him should his parents not be. A year ago his mom asked him rhetorically if he was gay. "I was try'n to go around it. I was like, 'Gurl, you don't wanna know! Yo ass keeps asking!' But she kept asking, asking. So finally I told her 'Yeah, I am!' and she was crying. My dad was like, 'Oh, my son!'" But, Vince is fine with who he is and wants to show kids like him that "let's hope that it gets better." Now his parents just want him to win. -He'd like to play an old school strategy but "I'm not afraid to cut a bitch." With the tribe he's going to be Homeboy Vince from the 209, but when he talks to the camera he's going to tell people "Don't underestimate your narratives." This past year with Crazy Rich Asians, he wants people to know that there are some Crazy Hood Ass Asians.
My take: What a character. Vince has a clear point of view - Hmong, blue collar, gay - which is unique to him in Survivor lore. Even though double minorities have sometimes had trouble fitting in socially on Survivor I think somehow he's going to pull it off. As unlikely as this sounds I could even see him being a Cochran-esque winner.
Aaron Meredith, 36, Personal Trainer, Warwick, Rhode Island -He's very keyed up at Ponderosa. Rambling so fast it sounds like you're listening to 1.5x. He's read four books so far - Relentless by Tim Grover, Can't Hurt Me by Dave Goggins, Iron Cowboy by James Lawrence, Harry Potter. -He was an engineer at a building insulation plant. He was miserable, too antsy sitting at a desk. Couldn't focus. So, he drove up and down the East Coast popping kettle corn - from Maine to Florida - traveling with carnies. Bartended for a while. He'd played college football and baseball, lifted since high school, and he and his friends wanted to get "huge and jacked and ripped." The owner of the gym suggested he become a personal trainer. He ended up working mostly with middle aged women and it taught him empathy. Now he owns two women's-only fitness studios. He puts supportive women around one another and offers them the positivity to seek self-growth. -He's also a party boat emcee. Lights, DJ, bar, drinks. He's an extremely social person. -He'd first applied at 23 - 6 or 7 times over the years. He was in the mix for Cook Islands and David vs. Goliath. -He's been married 7 years and has a 5 year old son. His son is a huge fan of Survivor. Libby Vincek is his favorite player. Kara Kay was his next favorite. Aaron is already sure Molly will be his son's favorite. "He has a type. He He likes the attractive blondes. He says, 'I like them because they have a nice face.' I like mommy because she has a nice face too." The boy was very concerned about his dad going on the show. He said, "Dad, I don't want anyone to laugh at you and make fun of you." Aaron said he wanted to win. His son said, "But you might not win." When they watch the show he'll always ask, "Do they like him? Do they like her?" If Aaron is portrayed in a negative light he'll have to sit down with his son and talk. He doesn't want to play a deceitful game, but he will, because he doesn't care how he's portrayed.
My take: His story about his son is one of my favorites from all these interviews. I hope he gets to work with Molly. His adrenaline is too high. I hope he calms down a lot when the game starts. But, someone so social and sweet hearted who can win challenges and take themselves to the end has got to be a contender to win.
Chelsea Walker, 27, Digital Content Editor, Los Angeles, CA -Chelsea just took the cast photo and they put her in the third spot from the bottom, a good omen because a weird number of winners have been in that position. "Your girl's number three. I got this!" -She's a Jersey girl. She went to the University of Maryland. "I didn't do Survivor: Maryland or anything." She studied Broadcast Journalism. She knew the generic emails for NBC Universal and emailed random people until someone replied. Now she's been in LA a year. She did coverage of award shows. Now she works at IMDB, where she helps Kevin Smith with his show. She just interviewed people at SXSW. -She's been watching Survivor since she was 8. She's cried in every interview because this means so much to her. She's trying to explain that at the point she starts crying again. "It's been such a dream of mine and To be told no year after year after year - these past six years have been a total mindfuck. I've basically been called every single year. I've been to finals three times. Survivor is my one true love, but the one year they didn't call me I got really pissed off so I tried out for Big Brother. I ended up becoming the alternate and got my key being filmed and all of that crap. But I don't like that show anyway." -In September 2017 she was at a WeHo bar for her friend's birthday when, "Oh shit that's Jeff Probst." Her girlfriends all know she's obsessed, so she pulled the waiter over and asked what that guy was drinking. So, Chelsea sent another one over. "I told my friends, 'Take my credit card. Split the bill, because I can't come back after I do this. As soon as the waiter drops off the drink I'm like, 'Jeff, this one's on me. You can buy me the next one at finals.' And I just walked out of the restaurant... That was a big move!" They didn't call her again that year, but Jeff still remembered when they talked this year. -She's been working out at four different gyms - weights, pilates, yoga. Push ups. Memorized puzzles. Reading How to Win Friends and Influence People, which she keeps in.a Bible sleeve so people will think she's religious. She also carries Harry Potter because she would trust someone who read HP. She wants to keep it cool. Make one on one connections. Eventually find idols - and not tell anyone she has one - and make calculated moves. "I don't want to be a Jacob. No offense."
My take: Hearing this girl cry from joy because she's so happy to be on the show makes me emotional. She's a real go getter. I wish I were that damn fearless. Truly, I wish I were more like her. I hope her pure zest for life comes across on TV and she doesn't get stuck with a purple edit just because of her age and gender. I also hope no one decides to get threatened by her as a competitive girl and vote her off premerge. I think she'll go far. Hope so.
Dean Kowalski, 28, Account Executive, New York, New York -Referring to himself in the third person, "Dean is 28 years old. As we mentioned, he lives in New York and he prides himself on being a well rounded person when it comes to interests, abilities, personalities... If I'm listening to Drake and Lil Wayne, I gotta go home and cry to This Is Us.. I can play basketball but also think about our place in the universe." He likes to tag basketball courts with a peace symbol with a ball on it which he makes using a stencil. -He structures most of his interview with Josh around an Outwit, Outplay, Outlast format, explaining why he excels at each. -He grew up in an affluent suburb. His dream was to play in the NBA. He was 5"9 3/4, so he set his eyes on college basketball as a realistic alternative. In order to get looks from colleges he went to a school 30 minutes away - top five in the country, Nike would fly them around for games and give them free Jordan sneakers. He was one of only 4 white guys in the whole school and the only one on the team. He played with Kyrie Irving, the #1 overall draft pick. "My friend said you look like the Make a Wish Kid who just wants to be on the team for a day." He played at Colombia University, where he was co-captain his senior year despite averaging two minutes a game. He became a teacher, then did sales for a tech startup in New York. He now sells ads for Google. -He's a fan, but far from a superfan. He started watching Brenda's season. (He thinks it was Nicaragua, but it was actually Carmoan.) He works with a superfan who freaked out when they had a meeting at H&R Block with Carolyn Rivera and they went out to Bourbon Street with her. He kept watching for five years and thought he could do well. He hates when people are all talk, so he sent in a tape. For the video he interviewed random strangers on the street, who had never met him or seen the show, and asked them, "Why am I going to win it?" A barber, a construction worker. He's going to tell people he's in marketing, not sales - people have sales.
My take: I'm just not that into him.
Elaine Stott, 41, Factory Worker, Rockholds, NY -When Josh asks her not to touch the table she asks him, "You seen that Bart Simpson commercial, right? Don't touch my Butterfinger? I'm already hungry thinking about it." -"I had a pretty rough way to go growing up." Her single dad raised her and her three brothers. She was the youngest. "I was raised like one of the boys. Know what I mean? Daddy didn't know how to raise no little girl." He worked 16-17 hour days. The kids raised themselves. "When little children make their own decisions, they make poor ones." She was a hellion. -She's originally from Woodbine, Kentucky, Nick Wilson's hometown. Her god sister went to school with him and she knows him through the grapevine. "We rode on different sides of the track. 20 years ago he coulda been my lawyer, because I was on the other side of the law. I'm not bad. I've just done some things." Public intoxication several times. "I come from a dry county. It's like Footloose. We cross the state line to get a beer and when you come back you're in trouble." She stole a newspaper stand once and had to do community service. "I was a little bit mean." -She went to live with her grandpa and cleaned her act up, by which she means that she started smoking a little weed and playing sports - basketball, softball, track. She played softball and judo in college. "I couldn't do nothing real technical. We had Brazilians on the team who could do flying arm bars. But if I got these claws on you and got ya on the ground I'd waller you to death." In casting she put this guy Will in an armbar. She was gonna choke him but didn't know if she should. -When she graduated, her girlfriend was a college Freshman so she went to all the same parties and ballgames for four years. Then she realized she needed a job. Now she drives a Ford truck for a factory. She's been there 15 years. She works 12 hours, 7 days a week. -Growing up her mom "was always in my life in some sense. She'd never miss a birthday. She'd be homeless, but she'd still call." Elaine and her brothers bought her cars, and places to live, and got her jobs. "In a sense I've been mourning the loss of my mom my whole life." Once Elaine was homeless herself and there was snow on the ground. It was cold, and her teacher took her in. Gave her Christmas presents. Made her go to prom. Survivor was a thing they shared, and the teacher was gonna be Elaine's loved one. But within a one year period the woman lost her daughter, her husband, her dog and then had a stroke. Now "she walks like Frankenstein" and can't go. Elaine got Probst to talk to her, and she can't wait to watch. In October Elaine's biological mom went into a coma. She was on life support, but Elaine wouldn't unplug her. Her mom came out of it and seemed to be doing a lot better only to die very suddenly of a heart attack. -Her girlfriend and her girlfriend's two sons are gonna be watching. The 18 year old doesn't know because he can't keep a secret. The 13 year old helped her lose 20 pounds doing crossfit to come out here. She wants the money, but she really wants "some of that soul searching, that life adventure, that life changing - some of that. You know what I mean? Gimme some of that soup! Lemme eat some of that up! I want this show to build me up, because I feel like it can. I sure hope to hell it don't tear me down."
My take: About 12 sobbing emojis in a row. She's my favorite. If she gets voted out premerge I'm going to go into mourning. And how can you not sort of expect that? I am going to be so upset if they just dismiss her because she's older and looks out of shape and sounds country. If that happens, I want another Second Chance season next year.
Elizabeth Biesel, 26, Olympic swimmer, South Kingstown, Rhode Island -Josh says that Elizabeth was outright identified by one of the other contestants because they'd been watching YouTube videos about how to be a better swimmer. Others guessed she was an Olympian based on her rings tattoo. -She's from the Ocean State. They lived a block away from the beach, so they wanted her to take swimming lessons. She was a rambunctious child and swimming was the only way they could calm her energy. She started breaking records when she was 7 or 8. When she was 13 she made her first national team. At 15 she went to the Olympics. She got good early. Women peak around 22-23, and she ended her career at 24. You couldn't make much money doing it. She swam one of the longer, more grueling races, and her body said "no more." She listened to her body and retired. Some athletes lose their love for swimming because they're embittered by losing by 1/100th of a second, or they leave injured. She left on a good note. Still, if she could swim competitively for the rest of her life, she would. Now she doesn't know who she is or what she's going to do with the rest of her life. Every hour of the day used to have a purpose. Now her days are wide open. She can't keep eating 5,000 calories a day. "It's sort of like I'm mourning the death of Elizabeth Biesel the swimmer." -She was a Survivor fan as a kid because Richard Hatch was from Rhode Island. In her area "Every single household that had a television set was watching Survivor." When they asked her if she'd do the show, she felt pure joy. She said absolutely right away. She's excited about the competition of Survivor. No heated Olympic pools. You're stripped down to your core. She's amazed by the scope of the production apparatus. She's not a schemer. She wants to be a challenge beast - not the best woman but the best overall. She'd love to have a Wendell and Dom relationship with another woman. But, she wants to avoid the drama as long as she can.
My take: Could Chelsea be Wendell to her Dom? She's so wholesome. She's just so "Olympics." I love her and everything she represents. I'd love to see her rocket through the swimming competitions, lapping everyone else. Go Elizabeth.
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