The family of Misty Upham said that the 32 year-old actress did not commit suicide, she had an accidental death.
Upham, who has played roles in movies such as Django Unchained and Frozen River, for which she had been nominated as best supporting female actress for an Independent Spirit Award, was reported missing earlier this month. Her family expressed concern for her, citing the actress' past mental health problems.
On Oct. 16, the Auburn Police said that they found a body at the bottom of a 150-feet embankment in a wooded area in Auburn, Washington, which eventually turned out to be Upham's.
The office of the King County medical examiner said on Friday that the actress died on Oct. 5, the day she left her sister's Muckleshoot Reservation apartment on foot and her family reported to police that she was suicidal. Upham's father reported her missing the next day.
Although the cause of the death is still being investigated, Upham's father made it clear that his daughter did not commit suicide. In a statement posted on Facebook, the late actress' family said she accidentally died while running away from the police.
"We believe she ran into the wooded area behind her apartment to hide from the police. The area in question has a hidden drop off and evidence suggests that she slipped and fell off of the steep embankment when she tried to get out of a view from the road," the family's statement reads.
It turns out that Upham is afraid of Auburn police officers. The actress' father, Charles, related that prior to her daughter's disappearance, police picked her up on an involuntary transport to the ER. She was cuffed, placed in a police car and taunted by some of the officers, who did not see the actress' family witnessing their behavior across the street.
Upham's friend, actress Juliette Lewis, on the other hand, thinks that her friend was murdered. Lewis, who appeared with Upham in Frozen River and August: Osage County, said that the Native American actress did not likely commit suicide but may have been killed for speaking out about the abuses in the Native American community.
"Misty told me about horrible violence she suffered on NA reservations She felt she could be murdered! Bcuz she was vocal #ThisIsNOTaSUICIDE (sic)," Lewis said, urging the police to conduct further investigations. "They're saying not 'foul play' when ofcourse it is (sic)."