In Washington, the list of missing Indigenous people continues to grow with 109 open cases as of March 16, 2022. Twenty-five percent of those cases are associated with the Yakama Reservation in Yakima County. These cases are scattered over multiple jurisdictions, and as disparity in attention and resources allow for fluctuating closure rates, they’ll have to make room for another case—a Crow Nation tribal woman who had been living in Montana before traveling to Washington. Freda Jane Knowshisgun was last seen at the Kennewick Walmart on October 18, 2016.
Freda Knowshisgun was a 34-year-old mother of three at the time of her disappearance. She was in Washington and finding herself in need of money to get home. One of her friends offered to send her the money via an online wire transfer that she could pick up at the Kennewick Walmart. However, Fred never picked up the money, and all attempts to contact her by phone suddenly stopped. The family reported her missing in November when Fred failed to show up to the funeral of an aunt.
The date Knowshisgun was last seen is almost five years ago, but Washington is just now adding her to their list of missing persons. This is because she was reported missing in Montana, but having her information on file in their database as well is prudent in assuring the transparency of information between jurisdictions. Having her on both states’ lists will make it easier for investigators to communicate with one another should either of them find evidence relevant to her disappearance.
At least once a month, State Patrol publishes an updated list of active missing Indigenous person cases on its website. This list is updated as of March 1.
Anyone with information about any of these cases should call the reporting agency. People may provide information anonymously by calling Yakima County Crime Stoppers at 800-248-9980. Tips can be submitted online at www.crimestoppersyakco.org.
A group of civilian divers known as Adventures with Purpose has helped police in various jurisdictions solve around 20 cold missing person cases in only a few short years. What started as a hobby has turned out to be the knowledge required for many families of missing persons to finally get closure after years without answers.
While many people were avoiding crowded public places indoors during the shelter in place order, one group of Youtube divers called Adventures with Purpose was just dipping their toe into diving as a form of visual entertainment. It began with them fishing trash out of bodies of water back in 2019 as part of an effort to clean up and beautify natural bodies of water, extracting debris as big as a cars. When the group was contacted by a Missouri family who was missing a loved one who had been presume dead, a new opportunity presented itself. The family believed their loved one’s remains may have been located in a nearby river, and would the Adventures with Purpose group be able to get them answers. After hours of searching, the dive was a success, with Adventures with purpose recovering not only the missing man’s remains, but also his truck. This was the beginning of Adventures with Purpose turning their expertise towards finding missing people.
Since that first dive, Adventures with Purpose has helped police solve around 20 cold missing person cases. Just recently, in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, the collective spent 10 hours dragging Darby Creek, and successfully helped to close another case that has been cold for almost 20 years. The family of James Amabile, 38, finally got the answers they needed. Amabile was last seen in December of 2003 when he left his mother’s home for the babysitter’s house to pick up his young daughters. Knowing that he would never abandon his kids, the family believed it was likely that Amabile, who was a diabetic, had gone into diabetic shock during the drive and may have been involved in an accident. Adventures with Purpose was able to pinpoint Darby Creek as the most likely place where this accident may have occurred, and tracked a vehicle on sonar about 24 feet below the water’s surface. The divers found the wreckage of Amabile’s vehicle with his remains still buckled into the front seat.
Many in the area have been surprised to learn that a group of hobbyist divers turned missing person advocates are the ones providing police with valuable intel that closes cases. Volunteers throughout the nation make up the cold case divers’ group, and they come from a mosaic of backgrounds, including sonar tech professionals and content creators who work together to promote their Youtube channel and tell the world about their good work. With more than 2 million subscribers on their channel, the interest in their mission is unmistakable. Even more stunning, Adventures with Purpose offers their services completely free of charge to the families of missing persons, funding these dives through donations and merchandising sales.
Adventures with Purpose is reportedly moving on to another case in Pennsylvania—the disappearance of a young couple, Danielle Imbo and Richard Petrone, who were last seen leaving a local bar in 2005. Divers will be looking for their Dodge Dakota pickup truck, and hopefully be able to provide closure to yet another family of missing persons.