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October 16, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Body found in Auburn believed to be missing actress

Misty Upham arrives at The Weinstein Company's Los Angeles premiere of "August: Osage County" in partnership with Bombardier at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live on Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision for The Weinstein Company/AP Images)

Misty Upham (Photo by John Shearer/Invision for The Weinstein Company/AP)

A body found at the bottom of a wooded embankment in Auburn on Thursday is likely that of missing actress Misty Upham, police said.

Auburn police spokesman Steve Stocker said the body was found by a member of Upham’s family who was part of a team searching for her. Although the body hasn’t been officially identified, it is “presumed to be Misty Upham,” he said.

Officers found no evidence to suggest foul play. A purse containing Upham’s identification was found at the scene.

Upham, 32, was reported missing by her parents Oct. 6 after she disappeared from the Auburn area, according to the Auburn Police Department.

She is best known for her role as housekeeper Johnna Monevata in the 2013 film “August: Osage County,” where she acted alongside Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and Ewan McGregor.

Upham was born on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana and moved to Seattle with her family when she was 8. Her break came at a showcase at Seattle’s Nippon Kan Theatre shortly after high school, when she acted in a play that she had also written and directed. Within a month she landed her first role in Chris Eyre’s 2002 film “Skins.”

Her next major role was in “Frozen River,” where she played a Mohawk woman who helps smuggle immigrants across the Canadian border. Her portrayal won the 2008 EDA Female Focus award for best newcomer. In 2012, she co-starred with Benicio Del Toro in “Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian.”

A direct descendant of Chief Heavy Runner, Upham was proud of her native heritage and a proponent of native communities’ economic development and self-determination, her family said.

Upham’s career was going well, her family said. She had a role in the upcoming film “Cake.”

Her family said she struggled with mental illness most of her life and managed it well, until she moved to Washington this year to help care for her father, who had suffered a stroke. Her family said she wasn’t able to get the same medication after she moved, which caused her to slip into bouts of depression and panic attacks.

| More in The Blotter | Topics: actress, suicide, White River


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