By Esther Lee
Late actress Misty Upham, who starred in movies like August: Osage County and Django Unchained, died of blunt-force injuries, the King County medical examiner revealed Wednesday, Dec. 3, according to the Associated Press.
The office updated its findings on Wednesday, saying that Upham specifically sustained injuries to her head and torso. The actress died at age 32 on Oct. 5 — the same day her family had reported her as missing. It would be another 11 days before relatives discovered her body in a ravine in Auburn, Wa.
Upham’s disappearance and death have been shrouded by dueling reports. Local police said they believed the injuries were the result of a fall, but the exact circumstances of her death still remain a mystery. Auburn Police Commander Steve Stocker told a local NBC outlet in October that detectives “did everything we could on this case.”
Her family, meanwhile, has spoken out against local authorities, saying they were uncooperative in the initial search phase when Upham disappeared.
"I really think the police could’ve been more proactive," the late actress’ father Charles Upham told Us. He claimed that Stocker refused to change his daughter’s status to endangered after she had vanished on Oct. 5.
According to a Washington state medical examiner’s office, Upham died on the same day she had disappeared. “We could’ve resuscitated her,” the grieving father told Us. “Or, at the very least, we could’ve had an open casket, you know? And we pleaded with them, begged with them.”
In the weeks leading up to her death, Upham discussed her fears of local police with her loved ones. Upham’s August: Osage County costar Juliette Lewis took to social media to question the cause of her friend’s death. “Misty told me about horrible violence she suffered on NA reservations,” Lewis claimed in one tweet. “She felt she could be murdered! Bcuz she was vocal #ThisIsNOTaSUICIDE.”
Charles reaffirmed these claims to Us, saying: “Misty was afraid of the cops… [she was] ridiculed, taunted, and harassed the last time they picked her up to bring her to the hospital.”
The Auburn PD subsequently denied the family’s claims, insisting that they did everything from their end to find the actress. “There have been no mistreatment complaints…from Ms. Upham, her family, MultiCare Auburn Medical Center, King County Sheriff’s Office, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, or elected officials at the City of Auburn,” the department said in a statement, while promising that it will “continue to search for answers to unravel the mystery behind [Upham’s] passing.”
Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic