Carolyn DeFord, a Puyallup tribal member, grew up with her mom, Leona Kinsey, in a trailer park in La Grande, Oregon. Twenty years ago, Leona disappeared on her way to her friend’s house, and was never seen again.
She is part of an epidemic of Native American women who have gone missing and never been found.
No one knows exactly how many Native women are missing or murdered, though a report put out by the Urban Indian Health Institute in 2017 cited 5,712 reports of slain or missing Native American women and girls by the National Crime Information Center. Only 116 of those cases were logged into the Department of Justice database for missing persons.
Carolyn came to StoryCorps to remember when she received the phone call that her mother had gone missing.
Leona’s case has never been solved. Since her mother’s disappearance, Carolyn has worked to help the families of other missing and murdered indigenous women.
Top photo: Carolyn DeFord poses with the Missing poster for her mother, Leona Kinsey, who went missing October 1999, at her StoryCorps interview on January 24, 2019 in Renton, WA. By Dupe Oyebolu for StoryCorps.
Middle photo: Carolyn DeFord poses with her mother and daughter in La Grande, OR in their last photograph together before Leona disappeared in 1999. Courtesy Carolyn DeFord.
Bottom photo: Leona Kinsey pictured at her home in La Grande, OR. Courtesy Carolyn DeFord.
Originally aired March 29, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition.
Remembering the Assassination of Civil Rights Leader Edwin Pratt
This is a story about an assassination of a Civil Rights leader you might not know about.
Throughout the 1960s, a man named Edwin Pratt was the head of the Seattle Urban League, where he rallied against discrimination in hiring, education, and housing.
On a snowy night in 1969, three men carried out a hit on Pratt in his home, while his wife and five-year-old daughter Miriam were inside.
Miriam recently came to StoryCorps with her godmother Jean Soliz, who was her babysitter and neighbor at the time, to remember the aftermath.
After 50 years, the investigation of Edwin Pratt’s murder remains unsolved.
Top photo: A family photo of Bettye, Miriam, and Edwin Pratt together in 1966. Courtesy Jean Soliz.
Middle photo: Miriam Pratt and Jean Soliz pose at their StoryCorps interview in Renton, WA on January 22, 2019. Photo by Dupe Oyebolu for StoryCorps.
Bottom photo: Jean Soliz and Miriam Pratt make the black power pose together, a few months after Edwin Pratt’s assassination in 1969. Courtesy Jean Soliz.
Originally aired March 22, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition.