Family Of Missing Pepita Redhair Still Seeking Help To Find Her

Pepita Redhair, missing since 2020
Twitter | Home4TheMissing

News & Politics
Tara Sigler

For Anita King and her beloved daughter Pepita Redhair, March 24, 2020, was just another day.

The mother and daughter had lunch together at McDonald's, and then Anita dropped Pepita off at her boyfriend's place in the South Valley, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

That was the last time Anita would see her daughter. It's been two years, but the family has not given up.

"I am going to stay strong and continue to pray for hope," says Anita King.

Her Mother Knew Something Was Wrong

Pepita Redhair's mom
youtube | KOAT

Pepita was a happy young woman who loved to skateboard and dreamt of being an engineer. She consistently kept in phone contact with her mother, so when three days passed in March 2020 without any phone calls, Anita King began to worry.

"Friday the 27th, I tried calling her," Anita says. "I tried texting her. My intuition right away told me something was wrong. I tried Monday on the 30th again. I tried texting her, but that's when her phone was stolen."

When Anita did finally get a text from Pepita's number, it seemed to be from a stranger, claiming they'd bought the phone from someone. On March 28th Anita reported her daughter missing.

“The day she went missing, my life has changed,” says the heartbroken mother. “It was so emotional and so sad that I went into depression and I couldn’t sleep. I isolated myself."

Domestic Violence Suspected

Pepita still missing: was her boyfriend involved?
Twitter | Home4TheMissing

Anita King is still adamant that Pepita would never have run away without telling her mother. She does maintain that Pepita had suffered domestic abuse from her boyfriend at the time, Nicholas Kaye, who also reported Pepita missing, though not until April 19, 2020.

In this report, Kaye stated that he'd gone out drinking with Pepita on the evening of March 26, 2020. They met up with another man. Later that night, Kaye and Pepita had an argument, and she walked out. At that time, they were at a residence in Northeast Albuquerque.

Kaye claims that the next day, Pepita texted him, saying she was with another man. He suspected it was the man they'd met the previous night. He stated that he never heard from her again.

Anita King doesn't believe it. She suspects that there is more to the story that Nicholas Kaye is telling. "Pepita ... was beaten just days before she went missing, and we just want answers and we just want to bring her home."

Police Offer Little Help

Pepita Redhair close up
youtube | KOAT

Anita King has stated in interviews that the Albuquerque Police Department, the leading agency in Pepita's case, has offered little help in finding the missing woman.

"They said that my daughter was a drunk," King says. "They assumed that she was gone and that she was not important."

King says that the implication from police was that they considered Pepita homeless, a vagrant, and so didn't take her disappearance seriously. King maintains that while Pepita did travel back and forth between Crownpoint and Albuquerque, which are about two hours apart, Pepita did live with her boyfriend Kaye in Albuquerque. "She was not homeless," King says.

As Pepita was originally from Crownpoint, King says she was told by Albuquerque police that she had to seek help from the Crownpoint PD; but Crownpoint told her the opposite.

“They did nothing,” she said. “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.”

Disproportionate Number Of Missing Native Women

The Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women (CSVANW) is a member driven organization where its network of membership is engaged, every day, as a united force across New Mexico… all of whom are working cohesively towards stopping violence against Native Women and children in our tribal communities.
NIWRC | CtSVANW

There are those who believe that one reason Pepita is still missing is that law enforcement does not put a priority on missing women of color, including native women.

Jolene Holgate, training and education director for the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, says that cases involving missing women of color often suffer from a lack of help from law enforcement, especially as opposed to cases involving missing white women, such as the Gabby Petito case.

Referring to the Petito case, Holgate says, "If that same amount of energy and effort were put towards Pepita's case, I think the outcome would be the same. Why aren’t these agencies trauma-informed, providing the same resources towards these cases? Why don’t they feel the need to organize in the same way?"

A similar statement was made by Lynn Trujillo, cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Department of Indian Affairs: "Many families, on their own, spend their own money and take the time to investigate these cases. They continue to be a voice for their missing relative."

Pepita's Voice Lives Through Her Sister

Pepita's missing persons report
Facebook | Albuquerque Police Department

The missing person poster above highlights the details of Pepita's disappearance. In two years, no further clues have been uncovered as to what happened to her. She is simply gone.

Pepita’s sister Shelda Livingston says, “I am her voice. My sister is a niece, a daughter, and a sister most of all. My sister went missing March 27, 2020. She was in an abusive relationship with Nick. My sister is a domestic violence victim.”

While Albuquerque police admit to knowing about domestic abuse between Kaye and Pepita, no answers have been found. In 2021, Pepita's father passed away, never knowing what happened to his daughter.

Read the latest crime news here.

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