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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Missing Lummi Nation woman found alive, relatives and police say

UPDATED: Fri., Sept. 24, 2021

Reatha May Finkbonner was located Thursday night.  (Courtesy)
Reatha May Finkbonner was located Thursday night. (Courtesy)
By Christine Clarridge Seattle Times Seattle Times

A Lummi Nation woman who had been missing since Sept. 3 has been found alive, according to her aunt and one of her friends.

Relatives of Reatha May Finkbonner, 30, said she was reported missing by her family after she was separated from friends in Las Vegas. She was not heard from for 20 days, relatives said.

Finkbonner’s aunt told Seattle-area news outlets that the mother of two was found by Las Vegas police on Thursday. Finkbonner was located late Thursday at the downtown Fremont Street Experience casino mall. Missing persons detectives verified her identification. She was offered assistance and her family was notified, Las Vegas police said.

Siva Jacobs, one of the friends on the trip, said she learned Thursday night that Finkbonner had been located safely, but has not had a chance to talk to her friend and find out what happened.

Jacobs said she and two others plan to return to Las Vegas by car this weekend to bring Finkbonner home.

Finkbonner’s family said she was last seen Sept. 3 outside the Bridger Inn Hotel, where she had borrowed a stranger’s phone to call her fiancé four times but never got through.

She had been arrested on felony drug charges Sept. 1 in Las Vegas, according to court records, and was released without bond the next day pending a Sept. 30 court appearance at which a criminal complaint could be filed. The name of an attorney was not included in the record.

Her family had filed missing person reports with the Lummi Nation Police Department and Las Vegas police after Finkbonner’s fiancé and friends missed four Facebook Messenger contacts from her on Sept. 3.

The Bellingham woman also was listed on the Washington State Patrol’s list of missing Indigenous persons and the Lhaq’temish Foundation, a nonprofit that supports the Lummi Nation, was sharing information about her disappearance.

Finkbonner’s disappearance renewed conversations around which missing-person cases attract national attention. After the body of 22-year-old Gabby Petito was found following a closely watched search effort, some began pointing out racial disparities at play. Families of color spoke out on the noticeably lower level of interest when their loved ones went missing.

Between 2011 and 2020, at least 710 Indigenous people were reported missing in Wyoming, the same state where Petito’s body was found.

“Sadly, Reatha’s case is not a rarity. The missing and murdered Indigenous women and people (MMIWP) crisis is beginning to receive the national attention it warrants,” said Lummi Nation Chairman Lawrence Solomon. “We stand together with our families who are suffering with the heartache of a missing loved one.”

In a statement, Solomon expressed relief and gratitude that Finkbonner will be reunited with her family.

“We raise our hands to Reatha’s family, who have been tireless in trying to locate her. We raise our hands to the entire Lummi community, our relatives throughout Indian Country, and all who brought attention to her case in an effort to ensure her safety,” he said.

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