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'Tiffany Will Be Back,' Sister Of Missing Indigenous Teen, Who Vanished In 2004, Has Hope She'll Be Found
Dejandra Reid says her sister Tiffany Reid's disappearance "didn't seem urgent" to police at the time.
The sister of a missing Indigenous teenager, who vanished while walking to school in 2004, is holding out hope that she will be found.
Tiffany Reid, 16, vanished on May 17th, 2004 while walking from her home in the Shiprock, New Mexico Navajo reservation to her high school. Reid, nicknamed Kay-C, was a sophomore at the time. Two weeks later, the teen’s purse, some of her clothes, and her library card were discovered on a dirt road in a nearby town. It’s believed that she may have traveled to Arizona or possibly Mexico, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, but that has never been confirmed. She would be 33 now.
Her older sister Dejandra Reid, 38, told People that police didn’t seem too concerned when their mother called the police the day after the teen vanished.
"They told her to wait to file a missing persons report," she recalled. "It didn't seem urgent to them."
Cheyenne descendant Annita Lucchesi, 30, who is a founder of the nonprofit research group Sovereign Bodies Institute — dedicated to researching gender-based violence against Indigenous people — told People that getting law enforcement to pay attention to missing Indigenous women has been a challenge for years.
"We live in a world where Native people, especially women and girls, are treated as less human," Lucchesi told People. She said that those trying to report a missing loved one are often sent back and forth between local, state and tribal entities that do not work with one another. The recent Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women movement has been gaining traction lately, bringing awareness to this disturbing trend.
Tiffany’s mother Dedra dedicated her life to finding her daughter before dying of breast cancer in 2019. Dejandra is now carrying that torch.
"Every time I see a girl who resembles my sister, I tell myself, 'Tiffany will be back,’” she told People.
Tiffany has black hair and brown eyes. She stands 5 foot 3 and last weighed 115 pounds. She has a scar under her right eye and a scar on one of her arms.
Her sister described her as a "quiet person" who would open up to those she felt comfortable with. She was finding her voice through poetry when she vanished. She even attended an out-of-state poetry slam, where her sister said she "did pretty good."
"She was always trying to bring kittens home," Dejandra said of Tiffany, who wanted to become a veterinarian.
Oxygen will premiere “Murdered And Missing In Montana," a new documentary that focuses on the disappearance and mysterious deaths of three Indigenous girls, on Nov. 12. The special aims to bring awareness to the ongoing crimes against Indigenous girls and women in the state of Montana, which has one of the highest rates of missing and murdered Indigenous women in the country.