Acclaimed Native American actress Misty Upham died from blunt force injuries of the head and torso, but the manner of her October death is still undetermined, the King County Medical Examiner’s Office said Wednesday.
Upham, 32, died Oct. 5, according to the medical examiner’s office. Her body was found 11 days later at the bottom of a wooded embankment in Auburn. A member of Upham’s family who was part of a team searching for her found her body, along with a purse containing Upham’s identification, Auburn police spokesman Steve Stocker said.
Her parents reported her missing Oct. 6 after she disappeared from the Auburn area, according to the Auburn Police Department.
Officers found no evidence to suggest foul play.
Her family said they believe her death was accidental and that she run into the wooded area to get away from police. After her death, her family alleged that she had been mistreated by police officers and that the police department didn’t take her disappearance seriously. The police department refuted the allegations.
She is best known for her role as housekeeper Johnna Monevata in the 2013 film “August: Osage County,” starring 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.”
The Northwest Film Forum held free screenings of “August: Osage County” and “Frozen River” in early November as a tribute to Upham’s life and work.