A day after actress Misty Upham’s body was found in an embankment near the White River in Auburn, Wash., her family has issued a statement saying they do not believe her death was a suicide, but rather that she slipped and fell off the embankment as she was hiding from the police.
The King County Medical Examiner’s Office has not determined a cause of death yet, but did announce on Friday that Upham had died on Oct. 5, two days before her family filed a missing persons report.
A search party of family and friends found her body on Thursday, and in a new statement on Misty Upham’s Facebook page, her father not only criticized the Auburn Police Department for not aiding in her search, but suggested that the reason she was on the run was to hide from police. He alleged that “Misty was afraid of the Auburn PD officiers [sic] with good reason,” citing an earlier incident in which police taunted her when she was involuntarily transported to the ER. Misty Upham suffered from mental illness for most of her life, including bipolar disorder, bouts of depression and anxiety.
“She was cuffed and placed in a police car. Some of the officiers [sic] began to taunt and tease her while she was in the car,” Charles Upham wrote. “Because it was dark they couldn’t see that we, her family, were outside our apartment just across the street witnessing this behavior. They were tapping on the window making faces at her. Misty was crying and she told them you can’t treat me like this I’m a movie actress and I will use my connections to expose you. Then another officer walked up to her asked “are you a movie star?, then why don’t complain to George Clooney!”
He then says that when Misty spoke to Auburn Police Commander Steve Stocker to make a complaint about how the police treater, he replied saying, “What are you going to do about it?” and said she would have to file a formal complaint.
He goes on to describe the day Misty went missing, saying police prevented the family from searching the surrounding area while they checked inside the apartment.
“By the time they finished Misty was gone. We believe that if we were not otherwise occupied we may have found Misty before she got hurt. It is a tragic that Misty slipped and fell to her death trying avoid the police, it’s tragic that she did not get the proper medication to treat her mental illness from her mental health care givers at Valley Cities Mental Health, it is tragic that the Auburn PD refused to help offer to find or at least change her Missing status to ‘Endangered’ to allow other agencies to get involved. But the real tragedy is this could have been prevented on a lot of levels.”
In an interview with The Washington Post, Stocker denied the allegations. He acknowledged that there was no search party was put together, but that a detective had been assigned to the case. The Auburn Police Department has said they could not do much because Upham was an adult who willingly left her residence on her own.
“We did take it seriously,” he told The Post. “Our detective put a lot of time into it. The detective is very sad over this, because she was really hoping to find Misty.”
While Charles Upham said he requested she be classified as an endangered person because of her medical history, Stocker told The Post he was “not aware of them raising any medical concerns.”