A father’s grief — and outrage. Charles Upham, the father of late actress Misty Upham, tells Us Weekly that he is furious with local police in Auburn, Wa., for how they handled the case surrounding the disappearance and subsequent death of his daughter earlier this month.
“I really think the police could’ve been more proactive,” Upham tells Us, claiming that the department’s Commander Steve Stocker refused to change his daughter’s status to endangered after she vanished on Oct. 5. “He just said, ‘We don’t think she fits the profile to change her into an endangered person.'”
A Washington state medical examiner’s office said Friday, Oct. 17, that Upham died at age 32 on the same day she had disappeared. The August: Osage County actress had been dead for 11 days before her body was discovered last Thursday, and for nine days since the Upham family filed a missing person report.
“They could’ve brought in the dogs,” Charles tells Us. “The first day we would’ve found her, and she could’ve been alive. [If not], we could’ve resuscitated her.” The grieving father added that his daughter’s body would not be shown at her funeral. “Or, at the very least, we could’ve had an open casket, you know? And we pleaded with them, begged with them.”
He went on to say that he and the family tried to secure Misty’s medical records, but there were legal restrictions in place. “We were just stuck, and all [Stocker] had to do was just say yes,” Charles tells Us. “She’s endangered. And I don’t know why he decided not to. And a lot of people are asking us: ‘Do you think it’s because of racism?’ I don’t know.”
One thing was clear to the family. “From what I’m looking at, it’s irresponsibility, lack of empathy, absence of humanity. And I’ve said it before, the inaction is the worst part of it,” Charles tells Us. He adds that he was upset with the Auburn PD for the statements they’ve released to the media since his little girl’s death. Stocker told a local NBC outlet last week that detectives “did everything we could on this case.”
“They didn’t do anything!” Charles tells Us. “You know, it was the friends and family that found her. I really feel that had it been another situation — I mean, how would they have approached this if it was Steve Stocker’s daughter? How many resources would they have attached to that endeavor?”
He adds that the family has also been upset with the detective attached to Misty’s case. “I just didn’t feel her efforts were sufficient enough either,” he says of the Auburn PD’s detective Orvis. “I think everybody in that position who could’ve helped and should’ve helped, decided not to… I don’t care if she was ill or not! I would’ve put everything that I could into finding her because, you know, we’re humans. And Misty is a person! It doesn’t matter if she’s mentally ill or a Native American or if she’s a celebrity, no.”
In the weeks leading up to her death, Charles says, Upham discussed her fears of local police with loved ones. “Misty was afraid of the cops,” Charles tells Us, adding that his daughter claimed she was “ridiculed, taunted, and harassed the last time they picked her up to bring her to the hospital.”
He says that his daughter was not a person to commit suicide. “She used to tell me that. She said, ‘Dad, I would never take my own life because I know that’s a sin… We know that her falling down was an accident. I said it from day one when I went down and told the police. I said, ‘I think she’s alive.’ I think she slipped and got hurt.”
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