Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Remains Found in North Carolina Storage Unit Identified as Turtle Mountain Chippewa Woman Missing for 15 Years


Missy Poitra (right) with her daughter Brittani, in 2000. (Photo courtesy Jessica Poitra)

BELCOURT, N.D. - Human remains were identified on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 as Melissa "Missy" Ann Poitra, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa-more than 1,600 miles away from her home in Durham, N.C. She had been missing since 2005 and was living with her boyfriend in the Durham area at the time of her disappearance.

When an online article was published in 2016 about an unidentified woman in Durham being discovered in a plastic tote concealed in a storage unit, Missy's sister Jessica Poitra had suspicions that the person was her sister, who had been missing for more than 10 years. According to the news article, the woman's body had been at the scene for "up to a decade" before being discovered. It is unclear how long the remains may have been hidden in the storage unit in Durham County, but the unit was rented by the same person since 2010.

Police had named her Durham Jane Doe (a name often given by law enforcement when the true name of a person is unknown or is being intentionally concealed) and illustrated her as a white woman with white skin and red hair, said Jessica. "The woman had the same gap in her teeth as my sister did and we knew it was my sister," Jessica told Native News Online. "But the police wouldn't believe us."


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