Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Disappearance of Jermain Charlo

Jermain Charlo vanished during the early morning hours of June 16th, 2018. The 24-year-old was last seen that morning in Missoula, Montana around 1:00 AM. Jermain had been to a few bars in that area during the evening and was captured on surveillance cameras walking through an alley behind a bar called The Barlander. The footage shows Jermain walking east towards the Orange Street Food Farm. Said footage is the last known sighting of Jermain, and she has never been seen or heard from again.

In September 2019, a Facebook page with Jermain's pictures appeared to be actively posting. After investigating the page, it was determined that it was set up by a random woman who was unaware that the pictures she was using were of a missing person. The account was deemed unrelated to Jermain's case.

In 2023, Missoula Police Detective Guy Baker told reporters that he has three theories related to Jermain's disappearance. "One is the possibility that Jermain was sex trafficked; another relates to drug activity; and the third involves someone she previously had a relationship with," the report states. Despite these theories, though, no arrests have been made in the case.

Jermain's disappearance brings more awareness to the large number of unsolved cases involving murdered and missing indigenous people. A study funded by the Department of Justice found that in certain areas, Native American women are 10 times more likely to be murdered than the rest of the population (source). Still, cases involving missing and/or murdered Native Americans seem to be reported far less often than similar cases involving white women or men. 

Jermain's aunt Valenda Morigeau discussed these issues with reporters, and expressed her belief that stereotypes about Native Americans have contributed to the systemic lack of urgency surrounding these cases. Valenda explained, "They think, 'Young, Native American woman going out drinking, oh, she's out having fun, she doesn't want to go home to her responsibilities,' and that's not the case." 

Though Valenda has expressed appreciation for the detectives working Jermain's case, she still feels that this issue is prevalent in the search for her. To learn more about this issue, please visit this website.

Jermain remains missing today. If you have any information that could lead to her whereabouts, please contact Missoula Crime Stoppers at 406-721-4444.

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