Stories of the MMIW: Freda Knows His Gun - Missing
One of the toughest trials faced by the families of missing Indigenous people is simply getting their name on missing persons databases. Then when some families are lucky enough to have their loved ones listed, issues in translating Indigenous names sometimes become a problem. As with this case, some may have their name spelled one way on one database, and then spelled quite differently on another. This just makes the job of finding them that much harder when it's already so difficult to locate a missing person. Throw in some blatant indifference and you have a system that Indigenous people can hardly rely on to find their loved ones.
Freda Knows His Gun was born on March 14, 1982 as just one of sixteen children, as reported by Medium. She was very well-liked everywhere she went and is remembered as being quite intelligent. After high school, she attended Big Horn College for a time. Nothing else is really known about her background other than the fact that she was a mother to three children that she loved more than life itself.
Sometime shortly before her disappearance her family remembers her beginning to hang around with a new crowd of people. They didn't know anything at all about her new friends. A member of the Crow Agency and a resident of Montana, Freda started taking off to Washington for reasons unknown. On her last trip out there it has been reported that she left with a black man known as "Mike." It's not known if anyone else was with them.
On October 18, 2016, Freda called a friend of her's from a Walmart in Kennewick, Washington. The 34-year-old mother of three was in need of money to get back home. She needed to make it back in time to take her children trick-or-treating. Her friend agreed to help and Freda was supposed to wait by the customer service desk for the money to arrive. This unnamed friend ran into trouble trying to send the money. The person taking her information continued to misspell Freda's last name. This problem that had likely followed her the entirety of her life would continue to plague her investigation.
When her friend called to make sure she had received the money, Freda never answered. When her calls kept going unanswered, they called the customer service desk to see if the money had gone through and if Freda had picked it up. The money had successfully gone through, but she had not picked it up. She wasn't even there anymore. This anonymous friend continued calling the desk back to see if the money was ever accepted, but it wasn't.
By November 14, when Freda had missed her aunt's funeral, her mother, Barbra, reported her missing. The incredibly large family was very tight-knit. She would've never missed such an occasion and her relatives knew this. Something terrible had to have happened to keep her from her family.
The police didn't quite share their feelings of urgency, though. Initially it was assumed that she was just partying and would turn up. When that didn't happen her name finally began appearing on missing persons databases. The problem here was that few of them spelled her name correctly and many seemed to have their own spelling. Her name appears listed in up to four different ways. This has only complicated an already complicated case.
Due to the case spanning across state lines, the FBI was involved in the investigation. This led to her name being listed on more databases across the nation. It's the belief of the agency that Freda became tangled up with drugs before she disappeared. They also believe her to be deceased, though her family holds out hope that she has been living elsewhere. Just a few months after she went missing there was a sighting in Billings, Montana. This was never confirmed to be her, though.
Oddly at one point her family was contacted by an FBI agent to ask if they had ever heard of a drug called "hot spot." They were told that when this drug is taken, the person loses their memory as a result. They figured that there would be some kind of follow-up call after this. At the very least to explain the strange question. That never happened, though.
The investigation seems to have ground to a halt. Barbra is raising her three grandchildren, who are now in their teens. At a point in their lives when they need their mother the most, they don't even have an answer as to what happened to her. Deep down inside, Barbra knows her daughter is still alive. She says that if Freda had died, she would know it. She has been missing for nearly six and a half years at this point and would be turning 41-years-old in just a couple of weeks.
At the time of her disappearance, she was 5'5" tall and weighed around 150 pounds. She was known to typically wear her dark, waist-length hair pulled back in a ponytail or a bun. She has multiple tattoos, including the names "Trinity", "Lyrical", and "Mason" between her shoulder blades. She also has a cartoon Mickey Mouse holding a basketball on her right calf, a flower and initials on her right shoulder, two masks, and her last name, "Knows His Gun" on her upper right arm. Anyone with any information leading to her discovery is urged to call the Crow Agency Bureau of Indian Affairs at 406-638-2631.
Sadly this case has fewer answers than it has details. As her children inch ever-closer to adulthood, then eventually parenthood, the answers that their own children will one day want continue to elude them. To watch security footage one would think that she simply left Walmart and walked right off the face of the planet. Not a single scrap of evidence seems to exist in an investigation that was almost cold from the start. Regardless, her family hopes for her eventual safe return.