Hey, y’all. Today is the first entry in a new weekly series that will highlight a different missing persons case each week. Hopefully, by keeping these possible victims’ names in the conversation, we can bring some closure to their families.
Last Seen: 10/18/2016
Current Age: 41
Age at Time of Disappearance: 34
Weight: 160 lbs
Race: Native American
Hair Color: Brown
What We Know
Freda Jane Knowshisgun, a 34-year-old mother of three, mysteriously vanished on October 18, 2016. She asked a friend to send her some money online because she was stuck in Washington state and wanted to get back to her family in Montana for Halloween. Freda is part of the Crow tribe. Even though it’s been more than five years, nobody knows where she is or what happened to her.
Freda was last seen at a Walmart customer service counter in Kennewick, Washington. She contacted a friend, requesting a money transfer to fund her 740-mile journey back to Crow Agency, Montana. Her friend agreed, but due to an error in the spelling of Freda’s name, the friend had to resend the corrected transfer. They had to fix the mistake and send the money again. But by the time everything was sorted out, Walmart had closed, and Freda couldn’t get the money. Her phone was suddenly disconnected too, so that was the last anyone heard from her.
When Freda didn’t show up to her aunt’s funeral, her mom knew something was wrong. It’s really unusual in their Indigenous culture to miss a family member’s funeral. So, on November 14, 2016, her mom reported her missing. Later, on December 11, 2016, another missing person report was filed to fix a mistake in her last name – it was changed from “Know Gun” to “Knowshisgun.”
Freda’s disappearance became a complicated case to handle, mainly because there was confusion among different law enforcement groups, such as state, tribal, and federal agencies, about who should take responsibility for the investigation. At the beginning, the officials were hesitant to take any significant action. This was because Freda was an adult, and there wasn’t any clear evidence that something terrible had happened to her.
Freda’s sister, Frances, feels that the authorities didn’t give the case the attention it deserved. She believes this was due to Freda’s recent involvement with drugs and her choice to spend time with a new group of friends.
This might have led the officials to assume that Freda’s disappearance was a result of her new lifestyle, rather than considering other possibilities. As a result, the investigation didn’t make much progress, and the family is still searching for answers. Despite the lack of cooperation from Freda’s new friends and no concrete leads, her family remains hopeful for her return.
Her story brings attention to a larger issue that’s happening in Montana. Indigenous people there are going missing at a much higher rate compared to their population size. They represent more than one-quarter of all missing persons cases, but they only make up around 7% of the population in the state.
And, honestly, the situation could be even worse because some cases probably aren’t reported or tracked properly. This whole thing highlights the need for more focus and resources to address the problem of missing Indigenous persons and to help families like Freda’s find answers and, hopefully, reunite with their loved ones.
Freda’s case remains open and unsolved, with her family continuing to hope for a reunion. Anyone with information regarding her disappearance or current whereabouts should contact the Crow Agency Bureau of Indian Affairs at 406-638-2631 or the Montana Missing Persons Clearinghouse at 406-444-2800.