Misty Upham's Death Not Suicide: She Slipped While Hiding From Police, Family Says

Tara West

Misty Upham's family members are saying that evidence suggests the actress' death was accidental, not suicide.

USA Today reports that family members contend the Native American actress fell off the 150-foot ledge in a Seattle suburb because "she simply did not see the drop off." Upham, who is known for her roles in August: Osage County and Frozen River, was reported missing by her parents on October 6. It was not until October 16 that her body was discovered by a search party in the forest in Auburn, Washington.

On Friday, the King County Medical Examiner's office confirmed Upham's identity and death. The recorded media line reported that her "cause and manner of death are pending." However, Upham's family members feel they know what happened. In an official statement posted to Misty's Facebook page, the family says it appears "she tried to get out of a view from the road" but didn't see the large embankment when she fell to her death.

The family's statement goes on to say that Misty was "scared of the police." In fact, the allegations against the Auburn police department are extensive. The family claims that Misty was taunted by police, bruised, and scared when they dropped her off at an emergency room. The family says they asked the nurse at the hospital what had happened and she said "she came in this way." They claim that Misty could not remember what happened, but that from then on she was frightened of the police.

The family also felt that the police department hindered the family's ability to find Misty by not allowing the family to immediately search for her. The family claims that the officers forced them to go back inside their home so that the officers could search their home for Misty.

The family says that it was another "involuntary transport" that Misty was running from when she fell to her death. Misty's father, Charles Upham, says that the death could have been prevented had the police just listened.

"But the real tragedy is this could have been prevented on a lot of levels."

Though Misty's father is now saying evidence points to an accidental death, Misty's father did say the actress was battling with some mental health issues and had recently changed medications. Police also noted that they have responded to numerous suicide calls in the past year at the same apartment which Misty lives. However, they could not confirm if Misty was the source of those calls.