PAULS VALLEY, Okla. (KFOR) – It’s been nearly a year since Faith Lindsey went missing from Pauls Valley. The 17-year-old, presumed murdered by her boyfriend, Tanner Washington, although her body has yet to be found.
Faith’s sister, Justice, said not having that closure of knowing what happened has left her haunted.
“It’s a hard time because not knowing where she’s at, not knowing if she’s still here or if she’s gone,” said Justice. “We don’t know.”
Justice said the family did not agree with the teen’s relationship with Washington, even before the alleged abuse started.
“We tried and tried to get her away from him,” said Justice. “She was so young. She didn’t realize. She didn’t know what love was, really, and she thought she loved him.”
The so-called love stemming from a promising beginning…
“He spoiled her, bought her all kinds of things, but there was the domestic violence,” said Justice. “I believe he went to jail once or twice, someone called the cops or she called the cops for him hitting on her. The thing is, I think he would do that and then try to make it up to her. That’s why she would stick around. She wasn’t used to getting spoiled the way he did to her.”
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women USA director, Deborah Shipman, said this problem is common among Native Americans, Faith being of Chickasaw heritage.
“About one in seven native women are murdered, and murder is the number two cause of death for a native woman,” said Shipman. “That’s unacceptable.”
The group is actively helping Faith’s family as they navigate Washington’s trial, which has been postponed due to the pandemic, but could also be affected by the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding the McGirt decision, which calls for crimes involving Native Americans on tribal land be tried in tribal court.
While Faith’s family awaits closure, Justice shares a message to women and younger girls who are also victims of domestic violence.
“Don’t let your pride get in the way or don’t be embarrassed about it, because my sister, she’s missing. We don’t know what happened to her because of this. It lead up to this,” said Justice. “So many girls go missing every day just because they don’t leave or other situations in domestic violence. It did lead up to this.”
Justice said her family is planning a candlelight vigil for Faith and other victims of domestic violence, as October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. They are working out the logistics due to the coronavirus pandemic and still need to get it approved by the City of Ada, Faith’s hometown.
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