One fall day in 1999, Carolyn DeFord’s mother, a Puyallup tribal member, disappeared on her way to a friend’s house in La Grande, Oregon, and was never seen again. It’s just one case in the nationwide crisis of missing or murdered Indigenous women.

Carolyn first came to StoryCorps in 2019 to remember receiving the phone call that her mother, Leona Kinsey, had gone missing.

Leona Kinsey pictured at her home in La Grande, OR. (Courtesy Carolyn DeFord.)

But she still had more she wanted to share, so two years later, she came back to reflect on how she carries her mother’s disappearance and remember the stories that have given her comfort and hope in her healing journey.

Carolyn’s grandson, Caspian Hayes, soon after his birth in October of 2021. (Courtesy Carolyn DeFord.)
Top Photo: Carolyn DeFord at her StoryCorps interview on January 24, 2019 in Renton, WA. Carolyn poses with the Missing poster for her mother, Leona Kinsey, who went missing October 1999,
Dupe Oyebolu for StoryCorps.

Originally aired December 3, 2021 on NPR’s Morning Edition.