Pepita Redhair: Found or Missing? Is She Dead or Alive?

Image Credit: Charley Project

In March 2020, just as the world was beginning to grapple with the Coronavirus pandemic, Pepita Redhair’s family had far more to deal with. The young woman suddenly vanished into thin air, with little information regarding where she went. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Disappeared: Navajo Nightmare’ focuses on the efforts of the authorities and loved ones to find Pepita and the circumstances surrounding her vanishing. So, if you’re curious about this case, we’ve got you covered.

What Happened to Pepita Redhair?

Pepita Redhair’s family lived in Crownpoint, New Mexico, on the edge of the Navajo Nation. Loved ones described her as a bright young woman who loved talking to people. She enjoyed skateboarding and cooking and dreamt about becoming an engineer or a teacher. The 27-year-old seemed to have things going her way until it suddenly changed in early 2020. On March 24, Pepita’s mother, Anita King, and two other family members drove her to a neighborhood in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Image Credit: Anita King/Navajo Times

Pepita’s boyfriend, Nicholas Kaye, lived there, and she had been residing with him for over three years. The trip was routine for the family, and they didn’t think much of it. But Anita began worrying when she didn’t hear from her daughter. She tried reaching Pepita on March 27, 2020, but couldn’t get a hold of her. Anita texted her daughter again on March 30, but this time, a man replied, saying somebody had sold him that phone. Soon after that, she reported her beloved daughter missing.

Is Pepita Redhair Dead or Alive?

Initially, Anita King claimed she was met with some resistance from the Albuquerque, New Mexico, police. She said, “The cops kind of just brushed it off. They said she’s (Pepita) an adult. She’s free to travel. She’s free to be missing, I was told. I was pretty upset.” Anita added that the authorities there asked her to speak with the Crownpoint police because that’s where Pepita’s from. However, when Anita went to the Crownpoint police, they asked her to head back to Albuquerque.

Image Credit: Charley Project

The case was also hit by the pandemic beginning to affect the world, which meant that the police couldn’t conduct in-person interviews of anyone who knew anything. Anita was particularly disappointed with the Crownpoint Police Department’s response, saying, “They did nothing. They said it was out of their jurisdiction because it happened in Albuquerque. I was told she is an adult, and we can’t help you because she was missing out of Albuquerque.”

On April 19, 2020, Nicholas filed a missing person report of his own. He told the police that on March 26, 2020, the two went for a drink but later had an argument. At that point, Nicholas claimed that Pepita had left, and the following day, a text from her said she was with another man. At the time, Nicholas assumed that it was someone they had met on March 26. On the other hand, Anita stated that he had gotten violent with her daughter in the past, making her suspicious.

Since then, the family has searched everywhere for Pepita but hasn’t come up with anything to go on. They remain hopeful and have kept her name in the spotlight, conducting rallies. Pepita’s missing case also shed some light on the plight of missing Indigenous women. At a rally in February 2022, Pepita’s sister, Shelda Livingston, mentioned that the pandemic meant the police took months to begin investigating the case.

For now, the authorities have stated that Pepita’s case remains open, and a detective has been assigned to try and find her. While Anita has tried to be strong, her daughter’s absence has undoubtedly affected her. In March 2022, she said, “When I get home (from work), it hits me. A few weeks ago, I told myself that I’m going to be strong. I’m going to stop crying because I’m tired of it, how I feel every day. I told myself I don’t want to get sick no more; I want to be strong for her.”

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