Saturday, July 20, 2024

Round Valley Tribe Will Proclaim State of Emergency After Homicide of Teenage Girl

[Art from graphics of Assemblyman James Ramos]

Law enforcement is amassed this afternoon on the Round Valley Indian Reservation in northeast Mendocino County investigating the homicide of a teenage girl. This comes a little over two weeks after the killing of 20-year-old Nicholas Whipple. Tribal leadership, grief-stricken and overwhelmed by the valley’s inundation with violence, plans to proclaim a state of emergency hoping for help.

Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall told us he traveled to Round Valley this afternoon and spoke with detectives. He learned the body of a juvenile female was discovered this morning on a piece of tribal property in a cow pasture north of Covelo’s Howard Street. Her body “had trauma which was consistent with a violent encounter” and the scene also had signs of a “violent encounter”.

Sheriff Kendall said his detectives are currently working on several leads but could not get into the specifics such as the victim, the suspect, and the circumstances surrounding the homicide.

As in any small community, information travels fast. Within hours of law enforcement’s arrival in Round Valley this morning, Covelo-specific social media groups had identified the victim.

Vice President of Round Valley Indian Tribes Lewis Whipple has confirmed the victim to be 16-year-old Ruby Montelongo, a high school student and native daughter of Round Valley. 

Whipple said Ruby was small and petite and had a “smile that lit up a room”. She cared deeply for her little brother. “They were inseparable.”

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Whipple and his family are well-acquainted with the young woman after his sister “took Ruby in as a foster kid on a few different occasions and most recently around a year and a half ago.”

Ruby was a “bright light in the teenager scene”, Whipple told us. She was a member of a tribal unity group for high schoolers and the Round Valley High School varsity basketball team that made the playoffs this year.  

The young woman’s homicide has prompted tribal leaders to proclaim a state of emergency in an upcoming meeting looking for any way to stem a tide of violence. Two of the tribe’s young people were killed in recent weeks. For decades, members of the Round Valley Indian Tribe have been murdered and their killers walk free. Tribal members Robert Want, Ivan Tillitson Junior, Khadijah Britton, Mike Pina, and many others have become Round Valley lore remembered for their brutal unsolved murders or their complete disappearance. 

Round Valley Indian leaders plan to organize and host a series of community healing events offering prayers and an opportunity to reflect on loss, grief, and a path forward.

Round Valley embodies the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People activist movement. Leaders say they are determined to stop what they often describe as an “epidemic of violence” that has taken root within Indian Country. 

The National Institute of Justice has found that 84.3% of native women and 81.6% of men will be victims of violence in their lifetime. The murder rate of native women living on reservations is ten times higher than the national average.

Locally, the kidnapping and disappearance of Round Valley’s Khadijah Britton in 2018 brought Mendocino County to the forefront as a symbol of MMIP activism. Round Valley leaders have worked alongside California’s first native assemblyman James Ramos to advocate in Sacramento for solutions, such as the Feather Alert system instituted this year.

While policymakers and activists work for change, Round Valley has lost two of their own in less than three weeks’ time. 

Sheriff Matt Kendall asks that if any member of the public has information about the killing of the young woman, please call the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office at 707-463-4086.

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  1. There are so many illegal immigrants bringing drugs to out people. So many questionable people have been brought into our valley and living on tribal land without anybody protecting our children, our elders or any tribal member for that matter. Nobody knows who comes and goes or who’s doing what or even where they come from. Keep welcoming outsiders and this will never stop. How many more losses have to happen before we stand together and clean up the mess that has taken over our community. Tribal members are listed and documented, why aren’t these outsiders that our own tribal members bring into the valley.

    • And yet you guys blame EVERYTHING on the WHITE man.

      Start by forgiving. Forgiveness is key here. Let your people HEAL. Your people are BOUND by the SPIRIT of unforgiveness.

      Worship the true LIGHT and the darkness will have to flee.

        • @Tufftalk- Haters preach Forgiveness?

          I’m asking you to forgive me for the sins of my ancestors. Right here. Right now.

          Can you forgive me and allow peace to rule? Can our children play and learn together in peace?

          I want you to heal.


      • Nelson, I AM praying for you. I AM NOT talking smack. I called for a one day a month fasting and prayer for COVELO two years ago and got ZERO response. I was fasting for you myself .But nobody cared to join me. I love you because I AM Christian.

        I’m saying these things because I see how much your community is hurting and I know that JESUS CHRIST is the answer and that you can’t continue to preach unforgiveness amongst your people and ever hope to heal. Until you STOP in hating us, those hate demons are going to keep enlarging theirselves.

        Which wolf are you feeding? A wolf is a wolf. It’s gonna kill, steal, and destroy! The devil doesn’t care if he destroys you or us, or you and us. We are all fighting the same devil.

        Your community needs to start praying and fasting and pleading THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST over your territory because whatever you’ve been doing isn’t working.

        I’m sorry for what the white people did to you in the past. I REALLY AM. And I think I speak for most white people. We are the voices you DONT hear crying out on the internet. We are not out holding signs that say WE LOVE YOU. But we do love you, and WE ARE sad about what you went through and WE DO CARE about you. Please STOP hating us. Please let your children heal. Hate destroys everything in its path and is killing your children. Please stop feeding hate. I AM begging you!

        We are ALL God’s children. Equal in His eyes. God’s only Son marched up Calvary’s hill carrying His cross and all of our sin, and died a cruel death so that we could be forgiven and reconciled to Father God. Let’s FORGIVE and LOVE and ONE ANOTHER!


      • Covelo is a product of its own internal ugliness. But keep chasing white ghosts and making excuses for the worst offenders in your proud little outlaw community. Nelson: you are the crab at the bottom of the bucket, pulling your children and neighbors back down with you, forever.

  2. Why????….you should be ashamed of your self-righteous statement!! At best it is pure ignorance! You obviously have zero insight into the plight of their community. These people are born into poverty. Into warring families. Into an extremely rural setting where options & outlets are very limited. None of which are excuses for this horrible crime but your lack awareness & come to Jesus answer to the problems in round valley are weak & lame!
    I would suggest you do a deep dive into the history of native Americans in both the USA & Canada. The treatment of which is appalling! Stripping them of their lands & culture. Made to feel subhuman. Ostracized from society by putting them on reservations. Made to act & behave more “white or Christian”. The list goes on & on. And I doubt you’d be singing your tune had you just happened to be born into such circumstances. Be thankful you weren’t!

    • Sounds like the same tired old indian rhetoric, always blaming all your problems on “outsiders”. Meanwhile, it’s actually the “natives” doing all the raping, robbing, child molesting, and murdering on the rez.

      “natives” have no problem taking money or technology from the “outsiders”. Even with all the handouts they can’t do anything besides shoot dope, diddle their kids, and whine about the white man. Maybe the handouts should be cut off because it only enables their shitty behavior and seems to do no good.

      Time for the “natives” to look in the mirror and face the facts.

        • Hey you’re right! Watching the “natives” self-destruct does occasionally make for some good entertainment, doesn’t it? All that welfare money makes a good return on investment after all… Always a good show in round valley around the first of the month! Things really start to get ugly a week or two later when funds run out and the rez gets restless. That’s when the molesting, inbreeding, thieving and murder intensify, and the utopia that is covelo really shines!

          • Now here’s a hateful comment yet nobody says anything! This is hateful. I am white and I’m asking you whoever you are who wrote this mean spirited comment …to apologize. You’re letting your ugly show!

  3. What a sad sad event that will and should have lasting effects on the community. Another life lost one that wanted to continue the heritage she valued. I’ve read a statement about the failure of the IWCA…..and that person was called ignorant among other things. Their concern being children he placed back into the tribal community were now dying in violence and he was sad. This girl was also placed back into the tribal community being fostered by a man I am sure is a great honest nice man but his family has had and continues to have family members die by violence,, not by outsiders but by those living within the community and part if it. Is that a ideal fostering situation? I think not. Damn animal control won’t adopt a dog out if dog has a chance of coming in contact with animal abusers. Seriously. Who knows what she may have come in contact with…she’s brutally beaten after a relative of her foster family had same occur. I TOTALLY SUPPORT PLACING children with family or within their own community when it’s safe. I support IWCA when due diligence is done.
    Everyone wants to blame the white man but I believe from reading history almost all violence does not involve white men but it’s tribal member against tribal member. Pot farms being r<n by cartels are being allowed or they wouldn’t be there…they are not hidden and everyone knows where they are. Everyone wants these solved but no one will talk, they cov÷r up making investigations difficult near impossible. Tribal leaders demanded information on Nicholas Whipple death and within days they knew who did it and why. Why did th I s not happen with khladjah Britton? There were multiple witnesses and even one who drove off with her after her kidnapping. Is there a value placed on women compared to men? Women are the future.
    And yes it’s terrible that the tribes were placed in middle of no where…with no bus services…and not enough jobs. But people can make it work, people have proven time and time again adverse conditions can be overcome w I th work. I do not believe any if these things are excuse for murderin%, beating, raping your own people.
    I beg the leaders of round valley to ta k e a hard stance to stop this, its on the way to getting much worse…

  4. There just killing own people why make sound like it someone else outside the tribe come or staying on resorvation in all cases they know who did it put that casino money to better use than there own pokits hideing stealing from there own people

  5. Why aren’t they posting pictures of the girl that murdered the young lady doesn’t matter the age shit a POS .. what the Whipple’s have to say when their own murdered someone.


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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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