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Atlantic Documentaries

The Amateur Sleuth Who Hunts Down the Missing

Oct 10, 2018 | 77 videos
Video by The Atlantic

“If you’re just out there somewhere on the land, dead, and nobody’s looking for you—that’s the worst thing in the world,” says Lissa Yellowbird-Chase in Vanished, a new documentary from The Atlantic. Yellowbird-Chase, a private citizen and volunteer investigator, has devoted her life to searching for missing American Indians.


American Indian women and girls are reported missing at a disproportionately high rate compared with most other demographics. Although there is no federal database that tracks their disappearances, Mary Kathryn Nagle, a tribal sovereignty attorney, told The Atlantic that legal structures help to “create a climate in the United States where Native women go murdered and missing.”


Recently, Yellowbird-Chase has been focused on one case in particular: that of Melissa Eagleshield, who disappeared in 2014 in Minnesota. “It was like she just vanished,” says Jodi Dey, Eagleshield’s aunt. No arrests have been made in relation to her case. In the film, Yellowbird-Chase and Eagleshield’s family visit the last place that Melissa was seen alive in order to search for clues.


“I think everybody deserves to be found,” Yellowbird-Chase says.


For more, read Sophia Myszkowski’s article “On the Trail of Missing American Indian Women.”

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Author: Sophia Myszkowski

About This Series

Original short documentaries produced by The Atlantic