First post...be kind! This happened way back in the dark ages, 1986. I was 21 at the time and working for a gas station that was associated with a certain grocery store chain in Washington state. It was owned by a company not affiliated with said chain, but had locations at nearly every one. As this was long before the days of debit cards, this was a cash only gas station. We didn’t even take credit cards. Customers would pull up, pump their gas and then come to my window to pay. We also sold cigarettes. No drinks, no snacks...customers couldn’t even get into my booth. I had been working there about a year when the company announced it was closing the location. My manager and I were offered positions at another location upstate and we both accepted. We moved our respective families and started our new jobs. As new hires (ugh). This station was incredible busy. We did more business in 8 hrs than my old location would do in a week. This location also had a different set up: here you would pull into the station from a single entrance, pump your gas, and then drive forward to a single exit where the “Pay Here” booth was located. There were always 2 cashiers on duty. Each cashier had a cash drawer. One thing I should note, there were also no computers. So closing the drawer down between shifts was timing consuming and tedious. We had to manually count the cigarettes remaining, and count the cash drawers. We would fill out an end of shift report listing the starting balances and the ending balances. We also had to list the gallons sold from each pump. At the end of the shift the total of gallons sold and the total cigarettes sold should equal the cash balance. It is important to note here that not once in the year I had worked for the previous location had I been off by more than 10 cents. The following morning after my first shift I was informed by the manager that I was short $50. Impossible I said, I balanced out yesterday. He said that I must have stolen that money after I had completed the paperwork. I just looked at him and said, no I didn’t. He gave me a verbal warning and said if it happened again I would be fired and the stolen money would be deducted from my paycheck this week. In the 5 days that followed I realized quickly the manager was up to something. My old manager who was just another worker now, was also accused of stealing. As was one other new employee. I can’t vouch for the other employee but I’m pretty sure she did nothing wrong. The employees that had been there awhile were never accused of anything. I did some checking and found out this manager was relatively new (had only been there about 6 months) and the other cashiers had been here before him. Only new cashiers were being accused of stealing. And that location had been having “stealing problems” for about 6 months and the turnover was high with the new employees. I came to work at 6am on a Monday only to be told I was being fired. For cause. The manager accused me of taking $500 out of my drawer the previous Friday. He said he only discovered it this morning (even though he had worked Sat and Sun). I said ok and left. I was pretty angry and instead of going home, I parked in the grocery store parking lot and proceed to settle in to watch the gas station. I knew that at 9am sharp, he would take the cash in the safe and make the weekend deposit. At 9am he left the gas station and headed to the bank. But instead of walking into the bank, he walked into the Indian “casino” next door. It’s not really a casino like we think of today, but more of a betting parlor for the races. It did have slot machines, but no card tables. I think “Well, this is interesting”. He comes out of the casino at exactly 10 am, walks next door to the bank, does his business and then heads back to the gas station. I head home with a plan. Every morning I follow him from the gas station to the casino. I take a picture of him leaving, and one of him arriving at the bank and walking into the casino. I take pictures of him coming out and then heading to the bank. I do this for 5 days straight. He even went on Saturday. On day 3 my old manager was fired for “stealing” $150. I get the film developed (no digital camera in the dark ages) note the times and dates on the back of each one. Then I call the main office of the gas company. It’s after 5 but I’m hoping someone is there. And there is. I speak to a woman and explain my situation and she says she knows exactly who I should speak to and transfers me. By some grace of God, she has transferred me to none other than the President/CEO of the company! I tell him my story and tell him I did NOT steal from his company and could prove who actually did. He took down my information and said he would be in touch. I’m thinking to myself “yeah right”. The next morning I went to the station to perform my usual observation of the manager. At 9am he leaves for the “bank”. At 10 am he comes out. At that moment 2 stern looking gentlemen approach him. One pulls out his wallet and shows him something. The other one is talking. The manager goes pale and takes a step back. Next thing I know he is being escorted to a car I hadn’t noticed and they drive off. I lose them at a traffic signal so I head back to the station. They all show back up about 5 min later, and a few minutes after that a police cruiser pulls in. The officer talks to the stern gentleman and proceeds to place the manager in handcuffs. The other man says nothing but is glaring daggers at the manager. The President called me later that after noon and informed me that the manager had been arrested for embezzlement (turns out that in 6 months he had managed to steal about $5k). He would take the store cash into the casino and gamble with it; if he won, he would make the normal bank deposit. If he lost, he would make the deposit and note in his records that we had been short the previous day. The CEO had already been focusing on that location because of the stealing and high turnover rate, but my information helped them figure out what exactly had been going on. I was thanked and sent a substantial check as a reward. My old manager was offered the manager’s job and I was offered my old job back. I declined as I had already found another job that I liked more and paid better. The gambling manager was sentenced to 1 year in jail and ordered to attend counseling for his gambling addiction. His wife divorced him and took their 3 children to California. His house was foreclosed on and he ended up in a homeless shelter. Don’t accuse me of stealing. I will get revenge. ** UPDATE** Thank you for the likes and awards! Update 2: this was my first post and I really didn’t expect all the awards. Thank you!
Missing and Murdered Indigenous...Men? Why are there so many missing men and boys from the Yakama reservation? Part 2 of 2.
Missing and murdered indigenous people If you have spent any time reading about true crime, you probably know that American Indian/ Native American women go missing from the United States and Canada at alarming rates. On some reservations, women experience violence and are victims of homicide at 10x the rate of women in other communities. But what about men and boys? Missing and murdered Indigenous boys and men are the forgotten group of this epidemic of violence on tribal land and many families are aching to see the cases of their missing/murdered male loved ones solved. Just like with the missing women, men and boys are going missing at an alarming rate on tribal land, but race is not the only factor. Men (and women) of all ethnicities who live on the Yakama reservation are missing and murdered at disturbing rates. Missing and murdered indigenous people is a complex issue with prejudice and jurisdictional issues playing major roles. If you want to know more about the root of these issues, I suggest “Missing and Murdered” podcast by Indigenous Canadian journalist Connie Walker, who explains the issues much better than I ever could; that podcast is linked below. Today, I want to highlight the stories of some of these men and boys, specifically those missing from the Yakama community. Because there are so many missing people who are practically unknown, I have decided to profile the cases of ALL the men and boys missing from the reservation, regardless of race. This is a companion piece to another write up I completed about missing women and girls from the Yakama reservation. That write up can be found here. If some sections sound similar that is probably why. https://www.reddit.com/UnresolvedMysteries/comments/htvnv6/extensive_write_up_on_missing_and_murdered/ Background Washington state is home to the fifth largest Indian reservation in the United States, the Yakama reservation, which is home to the Klickitat, Palus, Wallawalla, Wenatchi, Whishram, Wanapum, and Yakama people. According to the US Census Bureau, only the Osage, Puyallup (also in Washington state), Navajo, and Choctaw reservations are more populous. The Yakama reservation is located in South Central Washington state, just south of the city of Yakima. Of the 31,000 people who lived on the reservation, 11,000 are enrolled tribal members. Most people who live on the reservation claim Hispanic/Latino, white, or mixed-race descent, but Hispanic is by far the most common ethnic group. There are also small Filipino, Japanese, and Korean communities nearby. The Yakama reservation is located just south of the town of Yakima, Washington, a large farming community of 100,000 people. Apples, cherries, peaches, pears, grapes, and hops are all grown in the dry surrounding region. Harvest time brings thousands of migrant workers to the area, so the population is always in flux. Outside of Yakima is the town of Union Gap (Pop. 8000), which is partially on the reservation, and partially off it. There are two other proper towns on reservation, Toppenish (pop. 8000) and Wapato (pop. 5000). Other small communities such as Satus, Harrah, White Swan, and Granger all boast several hundred residents each. All in all, the Yakama nation consists of 2,200 square miles of sprawling, rural land stretching from south central Washington nearly to the Oregon border. But from this unassuming patch of high desert and grassland, more than 30 Native women have gone missing/were murdered. If we add Native men to the equation, the number jumps to nearly 40 unsolved disappearances, deaths, and murders. If we add the deaths and disappearances of non-native people missing from the reservation, the number grows yet again. Although the land is vast, the tribal population is small. From my estimates over .5% of native people on the reservation are missing or murdered. Like many tribal communities, unemployment and poverty is common, appropriate housing is scare, and according to the tribal council "disregard for the rule of law and general civil unrest" as well as gun violence and substance abuse is common. In 2019 a curfew was instated after a particularly bad shooting. According to the Washington State Patrol, the Yakama nation has the highest percentage of missing people of any Native community in the state, even though they are not the most populous. The FBI created a task force in 2009 to investigate the possibility of serial killer among the Yakama, but the investigation determined that a serial killer was unlikely, but not impossible. This was because the causes of death were so different from victim to victim. The investigation did close 2 cases on the reservation after DNA on both women linked them to a man serving life in an Oregon prison, but the man is not believed to be responsible for any other crimes in the inquiry. Whether a serial killer is loose on tribal land or not, this issue is complex and long standing and demonstrates how much substance abuse, domestic violence, accidents, and random crime affect the native communities in this county at 10x the rate of other communities. Some progress has been made such as state bill 2951 which allows Washington state authorities to track cases and help investigate and search for missing individuals on tribal land. Because tribal lands are usually under federal jurisdiction, state authorities previously were not able to help, despite being more familiar with the area than the FBI. This is only one small step in the right direction and although awareness is growing, the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous people will not simply go away. Many people have heard of this epidemic, but few know the names of the victims; today it is time to change that. Below are the profiles of 20 men and boys who are missing, murdered, or who have suffered mysterious deaths. For some of the individuals very little information is available. The list below is not necessarily complete. If you know of other unsolved cases let me know in the comments below. Quick guide: Yakima- large town near, but not on, the reservation Yakama- the tribe and people group NOTE: all cases organized most to least recent. In order to be profiled the cases in this piece must havesomeconnection to the Yakama Indian reservation. This could mean those who lived on the reservation, were last seen on the reservation, are believed to be missing within the confines of reservation, or are of Yakama heritage by birth. Hope that makes sense. Missing Bernard Schieber, 86, of Yakima has not been seen since Aug. 8, 2019, when he left his home in the 2500 block of South 84th Avenue in Yakima. His black, full-size Chevrolet pickup was found a few weeks later in a closed portion of the Yakama Nation reservation. It appears to have been parked normally and not crashed or damaged. When he left his home in the city of Yakima, Bernard had only ¼ tank of gas and no money. He suffers from dementia. Bernard is described as a white male with blue eyes and gray hair. He weighs 190 lbs. and stands 5’ 11” tall. Anyone with any information about Schieber is asked to call the Yakima County Sheriff's Office at 509-574-2500. He is still missing. Josiah “Jo” Michael Hilderbrand aged 25 and his friend 47-year-old Jon Joseph Cleary left southern California in early June 2020 to travel to a Grateful Dead concert at The Gorge a venue in Washington state. Both men were traveling together in a light blue 2004 Honda Civic hybrid when they were last heard from on June 7th, 2019. On June 8th their abandoned burned out car was found 8 miles west of Toppenish in a deserted, rural area of the reservation. The FBI has stated they believe the men are dead but they are officially listed as missing. Josiah Hilderbrand is described as white male, age 25, with light brown wavy hair and blue eyes. He is 5’8” and 165 lbs. He has a neck tattoo. Jon Cleary is a white male, 47 years old, and 6’3” in height weighing 230 lbs. He has brown/gray hair and beard and brown eyes. He usually wears a baseball cap. Remains found August 5th, 2020 near Toppenish may belong to the men. The FBI is handling the case as the men were found on tribal land. The families are offering $35,000 for information that can solve the murders. Even if the remains are those of the “Dead Heads” the crimes of their deaths remain unsolved. Strangely enough Hilderbrand and Cleary died on the same day that a mass shooting occurred in White Swan where two men, Donovan Quinn Carter Cloud and James Dean Cloud, killed five people. The shooters have been convicted in that crime and some have speculated that both crimes are related. This mass shooting was the crime that inspired that reservation-wide curfew to be put into effect. Elias Chief Culps, 25, was last seen in White Swan on Dec. 27, 2018 and has not been heard from since. In 2015 Elias was a witness in a court case about unreasonable searches and seizures and whose jurisdiction should be involved when fugitives are found on tribal land- the outcome of that case is unknown. There is little information available about Elias’ disappearance. Those with information are asked to call the Yakama Nation Police Department at 509-865-2933, case number 19-009167. He is described as a Native American male, 5’6”-5’7” in height and 150-170 lbs. He has brown hair and eyes and a tattoo on his neck. Jose Francisco Canales a 43-year-old father of 7 children was last heard from on July 7, 2018 in Harrah, Washington where he resided with his wife of nineteen years. He was last seen at La Guadalupana (a store in Harrah) on July 6, 2018 where he cashed his paycheck. The next day, July 7th, he called his boss to report that he would not be coming into work that day. This was the last time anyone saw or heard from Canales. He is described as a Hispanic male, 5’7” or 5’8” in height and 145 lbs. with brown hair and eyes. He has a scar on his left hand about 1” in length and a tattoo of a heart on his right arm/shoulder area. He was last seen wearing along-sleeved t-shirt (possibly green), blue jeans, brown sneakers and a blue baseball cap. He has a receding hairline and some gray hairs in his beard. Canales may be driving a gray 1994 Ford Ranger single cab pickup truck with the Washington license plate number B53351T. There may be a green 2018 Polaris 450HO four-wheeler in the bed of the truck; it has the vehicle identification number (VIN) 4XASEA509JA252860. Canales's case remains unsolved. Rolando Gabriel "Gabby" Gutierrez, of Mabton has been missing since Sept. 16, 2017. The 44-year-old was the oldest of six siblings and was close to his family. When his family last heard from him, Gutierrez was in Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point, a Mexican fishing and resort city on the Gulf of California. He was staying in the area and had weekly phone contact with his family. Gabby was planning to come home for his niece’s birthday in October, but he never made it. One of his sisters worried that Gabby was “wrapped up” in the drug trade. In November 2019, forensic scientists in the Mexican state of Sonora announced that they had recovered 52 bodies and skeletons from a mass grave near Puerto Peñasco. Gabby’s family told an Associated Press reporter that they thought there might be a chance his body was among them, but this is not known for certain. Rolando “Gabby” Gutierrez is described as either a Hispanic or a mixed race (Caucasian/ Hispanic) male who is 5’10” in height and weights 180-260 lbs. He has black hair and brown eyes but he shaves his head. He also has a zodiac cancer symbol tattooed on his arm and has pierced nipples. There is currently a go fund me for Gabby’s family so one of his siblings can travel to Mexico to give their DNA for comparison. Mexican authorities are investigating this case. Kristopher Fowler, 34, was last seen Oct. 12, 2016. Fowler, affectionately known as "Sherpa" and “Kris” was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and had started at the border with Mexico with a goal of completing the 2,800-mile trek to the Canadian border. He was last seen in the White Pass area only a few hundred miles from his destination. Kris was last seen at a convenience store in very rural Yakima county. Kris is described as a white male, 6’2” and 165 lbs. He has blonde hair and beard and blue eyes. He is believed to be lost in the wilderness. His step mother still hopes the body can be recovered some day. Those with information should call the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office at 509-574-2500. Joseph Eric Miranda Jr., 24, has been missing from Granger since May 26, 2016. Reports say Joseph went to his bedroom on May 26, 2016 around 10:30 pm after talking with his father. His mother went to check on him in the morning but he was nowhere to be found. She last saw him late on the evening of May 25, 2016 and initially thought he had gone on a walk never returned. It is unclear if Miranda and his wife also lived at the house with his parents or if he was only staying there. According to one source, Miranda left his wife a note that said he “wouldn’t be seeing her for a while.” Miranda had a bank card and a cellphone with him when he disappeared, but because the cellphone was a government issued phone (a burner phone maybe?) it cannot be pinged. His bank card was last used on May 25th to buy a soda at a gas station and it has never been used again. He left his keys and his car at his parent’s home. There has been some activity on Miranda’s social security card but it is unknown if the user is Miranda or an identity thief. Joseph’s favorite movie is a 2014 film called Wild, about a girl who hikes through the wilderness of the Pacific Crest trail. His family worries he embarked on a similar journey and either got lost of met with foul play. They ask that if Joseph is out there to please contact them so that they know he is alive and well. Joseph is described as a Hispanic male, 5’7” or 5”8 and 180-195 lbs. He has black hair and brown eyes. Miranda had long hair and a beard at the time of his disappearance and usually wore his hair long but occasionally cut it very short. He wears prescription eyeglasses with silver frames. He has a strawberry birthmark on his chest and a small mole on his upper lip. When last seen he was wearing multi colored swim trunks, a green long-sleeved shirt and superman flip flops. He often wears flip flops, his Rx glasses, and bandanas or hats on his head. If you have seen Miranda or have information please called the Granger PD at 509-854-2656. Chad Nathan Stotz-Gomez, 36 of Union Gap, drifted between homeless camps at the time of his disappearance, but talked to his mother and other family members regularly. He was last seen on July 10th 2015. He has not been seen or heard from since. Some believe that this case is connected to the case of Cody Turner (details below). The same day Stotz-Gomez disappeared, there was shooting at a homeless camp between Yakima and Selah, Washington. The victim, a 36-year-old woman, was injured but the victim has not cooperated with law enforcement and no arrests have been made. Police found Stotz-Gomez's DNA at the shooting scene. Some have speculated that the shooting is connected to the November 2015 murder of Norma Emmerson, who was shot in the head outside East Selah, Washington. Some reports say Norma had information about a homicide committed by her ex-boyfriend, Raven Cutler. Cutler ultimately pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Cutler told Cody Turner's mother he'd seen Cody Turner (case below) and Stotz-Gomez together in downtown Yakima, but his information has not been verified. Other witnesses believe that the two men, Turner and Stotz-Gomez, knew each other casually and believe that their disappearances must be related. In the past Stotz-Gomez has lived in New York and Montana and he may have traveled there. At the time of his disappearance, was required to check in weekly with the police. Stotz-Gomez is described as a Hispanic or mixed-race Hispanic/Caucasian male, 5’9” and 180-190 lbs. He has black hair and brown eyes and usually wears a beard. He has the following tattoos: barbed wire on his upper left arm, a skull with wings on his right arm, the letters "SUR" on one hand, the number 13 on the other hand, and a small cholo face on his chest. If you have any information please contact the Yakima County Sheriff's Office 509-574-2550. Cody Turner, 24, was last seen July 26, 2015, in Yakima leaving the home he shared with his father and grandparents. Cody had been gone that day with his dog Ariel but arrived at the home in the evening where he ate, showered, and picked up some cigarettes before leaving the house again. He had his cellphone on him but since July 28th, 2015 the phone has gone straight to voicemail. According to some sources Cody was homeless at the time of his disappearance but according to others he lived at his grandparent’s house with his father. Cody has a history of meth usage and his family believes he was using at the time of his disappearance. Despite his drug use, Cody’s family said he usually returned home every evening and talked to his family daily. He does not have a history of dropping out of sight or being out of touch with his family. Cody is described as a white male 5'5 - 5'7, 150 - 170 pounds. He has sandy colored hair and green eyes. He keeps his hair very short and tidy. He sometimes wears facial hair (a goatee and mustache) which he keeps short. Turner's nickname is Cooter. He has two scars, one on his left wrist and one on his abdomen. His ears and tongue are pierced, but he had stopped wearing his earrings and tongue ring prior to his disappearance. Turner has the following tattoos: the name "Natilie" with flames and barbed wire on his right bicep, three skulls with swords going through them on his left bicep, and a tribal stamp on the inside of his upper left arm. Turner has previously fractured his left foot and he smokes cigarettes. His case may be connected to Chad- Stotz Gomez’s case which is why it is included in this piece, even though he has no connection to the reservation. Justin Lee McConville has been missing from Toppenish since sometime in January 2015. He was 24 years old at the time and was last seen on the Yakama reservation, but often travels to Oregon and fishes along the Columbia River. Some sources say he is nomadic and had no permanent address but others say he lives in Toppenish. Justin is described as a Native American male with long brown hair which he wears in a pony tail and brown eyes. McConville has a half-sleeve tattoo of a Native American man, Chief Joseph, on his upper right arm. He also has a tattoo of a tribal fishing design on his left arm and a tattoo of a Native American design on his back. He is 6’0”-6’2” and weights 165 lbs. Yakama Tribal Police are investigating. They can be reached at 509-865-2933. Anthony “Tony” Peters, also known as Anthony Colfax Peters, 56, was last seen in October 2014 at Legends Casino in Toppenish. According to his sister, Peters was homeless at the time, living with relatives or friends or elsewhere when necessary, but he regularly talked to his family and friends. According to his sister, Alfrieda, Tony like many homeless individuals had a complicated life. His temper sometimes got him into trouble, but eventually he always came around. His sister remembers him as a natural born artist who did powwow dancing, beadwork, and drawing for fun. He was also a good singer. In the past, he has been known to travel to other nearby reservations such as the Umatilla or Warm Springs. He has also been known to travel to Seattle. He would drop out of sight from time to time, but never for more than a few weeks. Tony is described as a Native American male with black hair and brown eyes. Peter’s nickname is Tony, and he may use the name Anthony Colfax Peters. He has an overlapped front tooth and one front tooth is missing. He is 5’6” and his weight fluctuates regularly. His missing person case remains open with the Yakama Nation Police Department, number 15-006132. Roland Elton Woodall Sconawah a Yakama by birth was last seen in either Lyle or Dallesport Washington in November, 2013. Both communities lie on the Columbia river in Klickitat county in what was once the land of the Yakama people. Tribal members have fishing rights in the area even though it is not technically on the reservation. This is where Roland was last seen. The 23-year-old was somewhat transient. He went missing under unclear circumstances. Roland is described as a Native American male with brown eyes and black hair. He stands at 5'6 - 5'8, and weighs 140 - 160 pounds. He is sometimes referred to as Roland Sconawah Sam. Klickitat county sheriff’s office 509-773-4545, is investigating. Ira Kennedy YallupSr. was last seen at the Lone Pine fishing site near The Dalles, OR. in May 2010. His family has offered a $1,000 reward for information about his whereabouts. He is a Native male in his 50s with black hair. No other vital statistics are available and he does not even have a Charley Project page. Yakama tribal police are investigating. Francisco Javier Mendoza was 27 years old when he was last seen in the early morning hours of June 8th 1994 leaving a 7-11 convenience store in Toppenish. Francisco was with two friends at the time. Later that morning, the three friends were outside of Toppenish when their car broke down. Francisco apparently went walking in the direction of town in order to get help and vanished into the night. He has never been seen again. Few details are available and his friends’ story is considered suspicious. Francisco is described as a Hispanic male, 5’5” in height weighing 160 lbs. He has black hair and brown eyes. Mendoza may have a mustache, beard or a goatee. Some agencies may spell his first name "Franciso." He was wearing a white tank top, shorts and sneakers when he was last seen. Toppenish police are investigating, 509-865-4355. Lawrence Jay "Larry" Riegel, 57 of Yakima worked as a carpenter and contract pilot before breaking four vertebrae, and injury that left him disabled. Right before going missing Larry had a surgery on his neck and some sources claim he was in a neck brace. Unable to work, Riegel was collecting disability. The last contact anyone had with Larry took place on Christmas day, 2009. He contacted several relatives and friends including a call to his mother to thank her for some clothes she bought him for the holiday. He was supposed to join his family in Yakima for a belated Christmas dinner on Dec. 26, 2009, but he never showed up or called. Riegel’s family described him as a “chatty Cathy” who talked to just about anyone and had daily phone contact with his friends and family. Riegel’s last phone call took place at approximately 5:30 pm on Christmas day. It is believed that the call was made to Riegel’s tenants who rented a farm from him in Union Gap, a town on the reservation. His tenants owed him $3000 in back rent. Riegel lived with his girlfriend, Ladena Mann before he went missing. Mann claimed that the couple argued on Christmas day and Riegel left the home presumably to go see his tenants. She also claimed that Riegel assaulted her either on Christmas day or on January 4th before disappearing. When Mann tried to report this assault weeks later, she was unable because she had no injuries or proof of violence. Mann used Riegel’s money and EBT card after he disappeared as well as applied for her own EBT card claiming she still lived with Larry. Mann was charged with welfare fraud and perjury, but charges were dropped when she paid back the money and entered a diversion program. In one media interview she claimed that Larry is still alive and that he has “contacted several people” since going missing. She thinks Larry is residing in Idaho or Montana and has accused his family of knowing where he is. Ladena Mann is a person of interest in Larry’s disappearance as are his tenants, the last known people to have spoken to him. Riegel’s family is offering a $25,000 for information in the homicide investigation that leads to his remains. They have billboards all over the Yakima valley asking for information. Larry’s mother, aged 90, still drives around rural areas searching for his body. Riegel is described as a white male with gray hair, a gray mustache, and hazel eyes. He is 6’2” and weights 200 lbs. He has surgical scars on his left knee and a prominent vertical scar on his neck from recent surgery to fix four broken vertebrae. He often wears eyeglasses and he has a limp in his left leg. He is also an alcoholic who frequented neighborhood bars. Yakima Police Department Yakima Police Department (509-576-6573) is investigating. Donnie Sampson, 71, a well-known religious leader, had been serving for eight years on the Tribal Council’s Code of Ethics Committee when he disappeared in the fall of 1994 while hunting elk about 45 miles west of White Swan, near Mt. Adams. Donnie had a heart problem and had been prescribed nitroglycerin as a result. Right before his disappearance, he told his daughter that he (and the ethics committee) “was getting into something that’s going to make everybody mad.” He even went so far to tell her that he would be “making enemies” and that she and the community would hear about his findings soon enough. He had been investigating rumors of corruption in the tribal council and the housing authority before he went missing, but other committee members refused to elaborate on the matter. Donnie’s truck was found Oct. 30, 1994, in the foothills of Mount Adams by volunteer searchers, but searchers found no trace of Sampson. His nitroglycerin, lunch, clothing and three rifles were found in his truck. A fourth rifle he left home with disappeared with him. Donnie’s children say tribal police has done little to investigate the disappearance, which they believe is a result of foul play. For example, his children were never interviewed and his truck was found by volunteers, not official search and rescue. Tribal authorities believe that the elderly Sampson simply got lost while hunting. There are no photos or description of Donnie Sampson available. He does not even have a Charley Project page. Tribal police are investigating. Roland Jack Spencer III disappeared in late May 1984. He was 3 years old when last seen in the area of Knight Lane and Campbell Road in Wapato, although some sources say he was last seen in Toppenish. Roland is presumed to have been abducted by a non-family member, when he was in the yard. Curiously, Roland’s mother died under suspicious circumstances several years earlier (her case is featured in my previous write up). After her death Roland moved in with his great-aunt. Roland is described as a 3-year-old Native American male, with black hair and brown eyes. Roland has a scar on his abdomen. His nickname is Do-Boy and he may go by his middle name, Jack. Roland has some severe medical issues and disabilities. One website explains that Roland experienced brain damage in the womb which lead to his medical issues. Despite his hardships, he was a happy child who loved playing with cars. He is classified as mentally disabled, hard of hearing, and suffers from epilepsy. He takes medication to control his condition and may fall into a coma without it. He can only walk a few steps at a time and has very limited vocabulary and speaking skills. He was last seen wearing corduroy pants, a long sleeved red and white shirt, and tan boots. His was declared legally dead in 2000. Yakama tribal police are investigating, (509) 865-2933. Murdered Darryl Keith Celestine of Zillah, was murdered Sept. 25, 1988, in Wapato. He was found strangled outside his home. Darryl, a Yakama, was only 22 years old at the time. His murder is unsolved. Very little information is available. What happened to these men? Why are so many people missing from such a sparsely populated area? Sources These sources are a good place to start. https://www.yakimaherald.com/news/local/loved-ones-of-missing-and-murdered-men-and-boys-also-wait-for-answers/article_99d6a596-befe-5860-aa5d-a8fef822725f.html https://www.yakimaherald.com/news/lower_valley/one-year-later-white-swan-quintuple-homicide-suspects-awaiting-trial-law-enforcement-targeting-crime-in/article_4ed98a29-a273-573c-8af1-031fdec6d248.html https://www.yakimaherald.com/news/local/they-need-closure-families-of-men-who-went-missing-in-yakima-county-ask-for-publics/article_11358e29-b133-5458-9f13-acf4face7abe.html The Charley Project and NAMUS If you are interested in this issue as a whole, I suggest this podcast by Canadian journalist Connie Walker who explains and dives deeply into the issues discussed in the piece. You can listen to the podcast Missing and Murdered here: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/findingcleo/missing-murdered-who-killed-alberta-williams-1.4556030#:~:text=Sparked%20by%20a%20chilling%20tip,in%20British%20Columbia%20in%201989. If you are interested in the cases of other missing Native Americans, my write ups on the Teekah Lewis and Bryce Herda cases can be found here on my reddit profile. https://www.reddit.com/useQuirky-Motor
EXTENSIVE write up on Missing and Murdered Indigenous women- Is there a serial killer on the Yakama Reservation?
Missing and Murdered Indigenous women If you have spent any time reading about true crime, you probably know that American Indian/ Native American women go missing from the United States and Canada at alarming rates. On some reservations, women experience violence and are victims of homicide at 10x the rate of women in other communities. It is a complex issue with prejudice and jurisdictional issues playing major roles. If you want to know more about the root of these issues, I suggest Missing and Murdered” podcast by Indigenous Canadian journalist Connie Walker, who explains the issues much better than I ever could; that podcast is linked below. Today, I want to highlight the stories of some of these women, specifically those missing from the Yakama community. Background Washington state is home to the fifth largest Indian reservation in the United States, the Yakama reservation, which is home to the Klickitat, Palus, Wallawalla, Wenatchi, Whishram, Wanapum, and Yakama people. According to the US Census Bureau, only the Osage, Puyallup (also in Washington state), Navajo, and Choctaw reservations are more populous. The Yakama reservation is located in South Central Washington state, just south of the city of Yakima. Of the 31,000 people who live on the reservation, 11,000 are enrolled tribal members. Most people who live on the reservation claim Hispanic/Latino, white, or mixed-race ancestry, but Hispanic is by far the most common ethnic group. There are also small Filipino, Japanese, and Korean communities nearby. The Yakama reservation is located just south of the town of Yakima, Washington, a large farming community of 100,000 people. Apples, cherries, peaches, pears, and hops are all grown in the dry surrounding region. Harvest time brings thousands of migrant workers to the area, so the population is always in flux. Outside of Yakima is the town of Union Gap (Pop. 8000), which is partially on the reservation, and partially off it. There are two other proper towns on reservation, Toppenish (pop. 8000) and Wapato (pop. 5000). Other small communities such as Satus, Harrah, White Swan, and Granger all boast several hundred residents each. All in all, the Yakama nation consists of 2,200 square miles of sprawling, rural land stretching from south central Washington nearly to the Oregon border. But from this unassuming patch of high desert and grassland, more than 30 Native women have gone missing/were murdered. If we add Native men to the equation, the number jumps to nearly 50 unsolved disappearances, deaths, and murders. If we add the deaths and disappearances of non-native people missing from the reservation, the number grows yet again. Although the land is vast, the tribal population is small. From my estimates over .5% of native people on the reservation are missing or murdered. Like many tribal communities, unemployment and poverty is common, appropriate housing is scare, and according to the tribal council "disregard for the rule of law and general civil unrest" as well as gun violence and substance abuse is common. In 2019 a youth curfew was instated after a particularly bad shooting. According to the Washington State Patrol, the Yakama nation has the highest percentage of missing people of any Native community in the state, even though they are not the most populous. The FBI created a task force in 2009 to investigate the possibility of serial killer among the Yakama, but the investigation determined that a serial killer was unlikely, but not impossible. This was because the causes of death were so different from victim to victim. The investigation did close two cases on the reservation after DNA on both women linked them to a man serving life in an Oregon prison, but the man is not believed to be responsible for any other crimes in the inquiry. Whether a serial killer is loose on tribal land or not, this issue is complex and long standing and demonstrates how much substance abuse, domestic violence, and random crime affect the Native communities in this county at 10x the rate of other communities. Some progress has been made such as state bill 2951 which allows Washington state authorities to track cases and help investigate and search for missing individuals on tribal land. Because tribal lands are usually under federal jurisdiction, state authorities are not able to help, despite being more familiar with the area than the FBI. This is only one small step in the right direction and although awareness is growing, the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous people will not simply go away. The mystery of vanishing people still stands. Many people have heard of this epidemic, but few know the names of the victims; today it is time to change that. Below are the profiles of 35 women who are missing, murdered, or who have suffered mysterious deaths. For some of the women very little information is available. The list below is not necessarily complete. If you know of other unsolved cases let me know in the comments below. Quick guide: Yakima- large town near, but not on, the reservation Yakama- the tribe and people group NOTE: all cases organized most to least recent and are broken down into missing, murdered, and mysterious categories Missing Tiana Cloud went missing from Yakima on April 7th, 2018. She was 17 years old at the time. She may be in local area, and she may have been located. She is a Native female, 5'4 ft, 162 lbs., brown eyes and brown hair. She has large dimples. Tiana was last seen Yakima WA. Very little information is available. Yakima police are investigating. Freda Knowsgun or Knowshisgun has been missing since October 18th, 2016. Freda was from Montana and was registered with the Crow Agency. In the months before her disappearance her family reported that she was acting strangely and began drifting around the Northwest and spending time in southern Washington state. Freda was still close to her aunt and talked to her children sometimes, but was distancing herself from the rest of her family. Freda was last known to be at a customer service desk at a Walmart in Kennewick, Washington. Freda used her cell phone to call a friend to ask for money. She wanted to travel back home to Montana to spend Halloween with her children. Freda’s friend sent her the money but the money was never picked up. When she called Freda 15 minutes later, Freda’s cell phone was disconnected and no one has heard from her since. She did not return to Montana for Halloween or for her aunt’s funeral in November and she was reported missing. Freda’s family believes that she was abusing drugs at the time of her disappearance and they believe that Freda’s new friends in the drug scene may be involved with her disappearance. Law enforcement has reported that Freda’s new friends have not cooperated with the investigation into her disappearance. Freda may have been seen in Billings, Montana in December 2016 and she may be traveling with a black male named Mike. Freda is reported to be a 34-year-old Native American female with dark brown hair that is waist length which she wears in a ponytail or high bun. She has brown eyes, a scar on her right elbow, weights 160 lbs. and stands 5’5” in height. She has the following tattoos: the names "Lyrical", "Trinity" and "Mason" on her back between her shoulder blades, the cartoon character Mickey Mouse with a basketball on her right calf, and a flower on her right shoulder. She may use the last name "KnowsHisGun" and many accounts refer to her by that name. Her case is being investigated by Crow Agency Bureau of Indian Affairs. Rosalita Faye Longee disappeared from her grandmother’s home in Wapato, Washington on June 30th, 2015 at 10 pm. Rosalita who went by Rose was 18 years old at the time. She is an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes in Montana but had lived with her grandmother on the Yakama reservation since age 2. Rose visited her grandmother on the night of June 30th asking to stay with her but her grandmother refused as Rose was high on drugs at the time, and she had a rule that Rose could only live there when she wasn’t using. Rose may have been with friends at the time. Rose had struggled with addiction for years and had been in and out of rehab centers since age 16. This was the last time Rose was ever seen alive. Rosalita is described as a Native American female, 5’6”- 5’8” in height and about 130-140 lbs. She has black hair, brown eyes, pierced ears and lip, and scars on both wrists and both her chest. At the time of her disappearance she enjoyed taking photos and posting them on her Facebook page. Yakama Nation tribal police are investigating. Roberta Jean Raines, 19 was last seen in Toppenish on July 10th, 2001. Roberta was with a man named Jose Merced Zamora at that time. In 2002, this man killed a teenage boy and fled the county going to Mexico. Roberta was apparently with him at the time. It was around this time that Roberta’s family realized they had not seen her in a while and they reported her missing. Jose was arrested in 2007 in Idaho and taken it custody for the murder of the boy. Jose Merced Zamora told the authorities that the last time he saw Roberta she was in Mexico and that they parted ways. Authorities do not believe this story. Roberta is described as Native American female, 5’2”-5’3” in height and 120 lbs. She has very arched eyebrows. Toppenish Police are investigating. Karen Louise Johnley, sometimes referred to as Karen Johnley-Wallahee, was reported missing November 7th or 8th, 1987 by her cousin. She was last seen by a friend at the Lazy R Tavern in Harrah on the Yakama reservation. Karen’s cousin describes Karen as a 29-year-old female, five feet tall and 100 lbs. She was last seen wearing pink barrettes in her hair, a pink tee shirt, a Levi’s brand denim jacket, and white tennis shoes. She had long black hair and brown eyes. Her cousin expressed worried about the person Karen was last seen with. No pictures are available of Karen and she does not even have a Charley Project page. Tribal police are investigating. She remains a missing person. Daisy Mae Tallman or Daisy Mae Heath age 29, was reported missing on October 29th, 1987. When her family was questioned it came to light that no one had seen Daisy since the end of August, 1987. Daisy’s sister remembers her as very independent, often leaving the reservation to visit friends and family on a different reservation in Warm Springs, Oregon, or leaving the area to go fishing. Daisy was a high school basketball player and was the youngest of 6 sisters who were all raised by their maternal grandparents. At the time of her disappearance, Daisy was staying with relatives in either Toppenish or White Swan. A year after she disappeared a set of keys and a backpack believed to be Tallman’s/Heath’s were found in a closed area of a reservation called Soda Springs. 7 years after her disappearance she was declared legally dead. One source mentions that one of Daisy’s sisters was murdered before her disappearance but I could find no corroborating source. Daisy is described as a Native American female aged 29 with black hair that extended down her back and brown eyes. She was 5’5’ and weighted 185 lbs. She also has given birth in the past. No pictures are available of Daisy and she does not even have a Charley Project page. The FBI is investigating. She remains a missing person. Janice Marie Hannigan a sophomore at White Swan high school was the oldest of 7 children. In 1971 Janice’s parents had recently separated and Janice was living with her father in Harrah, Washington but visited her mother and younger siblings often. Janice was nominated to be Queen of the Veteran’s day parade in November 1971 and the newspaper even ran an article about her and the other nominated girls. According to her interview in the paper, Janice enjoyed beadwork, cooking, and watching football. A few weeks later on December 21st Janice was admitted to the hospital for the treatment of contusions on her head and torso. On December 24th she was released from the hospital in stable condition. The cause of Janice’s injuries, as well as the location she was treated at is unknown. Janice never made it home from the hospital; this was the last time anyone ever saw Janice alive. Strangely, this was not the first time Janice had been reported missing. Janice may have been reported missing in February or March of 1971, although she was determined to be visiting relatives in Idaho with her father at that time. Because of this some agencies report that Janice went missing March 1st 1971 but that is not accurate. Some agencies report that Janice is a possible runaway as she was upset about her parent’s separation, although Janice had never runaway before. One Law Enforcement office reports that Janice’s father is a person of interest in her case, but Janice’s sister Traci Clark denies this notion and says it is “not possible.” Traci was only 8 years old the last time she saw Janice, but she still looks for her big sister any chance she gets. Murdered Angela Marie Heath of Toppenish, aged 41 died on April 5th, 2019. Her death is an unsolved hit and run. Very little information is available. Washington state patrol is investigating. She may (key word may) be related to Daisy Tallman-Health located above. Rosenda Strong a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, was last seen on October 2nd, 2018 climbing into an acquaintance’s car, reportedly an older Nissan, heading to Legends Casino in Toppenish. Legends is an alcohol-free resort and Casino on the reservation popular with locals and tourists alike. Rosenda never returned from the Casino and sadly her body was found in a discarded refrigerator nine months after she was last seen in July 2019. Her death was ruled a homicide but no other details have been released. Rosenda’s sister said that at first tribal police did not take the disappearance seriously as Rosenda had past problems with drugs and they believed she would come home soon. Rosenda’s sister, Cissy Reyes nee Strong, believes that the murderers are the fellow tribespeople Rosenda was last with and complains that she still sees them “walking the reservation free” and refusing to talk. Cissy remembers her sister for her big, loud laugh and she hopes that someday Rosenda will get justice. The FBI is investigating. Jedidah Moreno was last seen alive in September, 2018 by her family in the city of Yakima, which is not on tribal land. The 30-year-old was reported missing in late November 2018. Her body was found in early December and she had been dead at least a few days. She had died from a gunshot wound in a rural part of the reservation that was closed to non-tribal members. One report (a blog) claims that Jedidah was a member of the Yakama nation but no other sources state this, so take this information with a grain of salt. Her case remains unsolved. City of Yakima police and the FBI are investigating. Little information is available. Linda Dave 39 of White Swan, was last seen alive in late 2016 or early 2017. On February 15th 2017, a woman was found dead under a bridge in Toppenish. It was determined that the woman died from a gunshot wound to the stomach and had been dead approximately six weeks. The woman was identified via DNA as Linda Dave. Linda was a mother and grandmother who enjoyed spending time with family, cooking, and dancing. She is the niece of Janice Hannigan, the first woman detailed in this piece. One local funeral home called Heggie’s has a website where people can share condolences to the family or stories about the deceased. In a cruel twist of fate one of the messages on Linda’s page is from murder victim Rosenda Strong. The FBI is investigating Dave’s case. Minnie Andy was a 31-year-old Yakama woman who enjoyed fishing and swimming. Minnie was found beaten and close to death near 70 Egan Road in Wapato, Washington on July 9th, 2017. She had been badly assaulted earlier that morning and she tragically succumbed to her injuries at Astria Regional Medical Center in Yakima several hours later. Her cause of death was blunt force trauma. Christopher Lagmay was indicted for her murder shortly thereafter but he would be released from jail in 2019 without prejudice, meaning if new evidence arises, he could be re-tried. Her murder is still unsolved. Destiny Lloyd, aged 23 disappeared on Christmas day 2017 from her home in Wapato. Her body was found in Harrah, Washington four days later. Initially, it looked like Destiny had died after slipping and falling on the concrete, causing a head wound but a full autopsy would reveal that her death was a homicide and that she died from blunt force trauma. Destiny worked at Legends Casino as a childcare worker. Her co workers remember her fondly and hope her case will be solved. The FBI is investigating. Naoma George mother of six from Wapato, Washington was found dead in 2013 from trauma to her abdomen. Her death was ruled a homicide. Naoma was a traditional Yakama who did bead work and gathered traditional plants to keep the Yakama culture alive. Naoma was laid to rest in a traditional ceremony at the Longhouse surrounded by friends and family. Her case is unsolved and little information is available. Yakama Nation tribal police and the FBI are investigating. Barbara Celestine aged 44 was a tribal member who lived in Wapato, Washington. She was found dead of blunt force trauma outside a housing project in town in 2013. Her death was ruled a homicide. The Yakama Nation police and the FBI are investigating the murder. Very little information is available. Skeletal remains found in late 2008 in a remote part of the Yakama Reservation are believed to be those of a murder victim. The Doe was unknown until the FBI Seattle office mentioned the remains in early May 2009, when announcing the results of the FBI's approximately two-year-long analysis of reservation deaths which was spurred on by a March 2006 meeting with then-United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Until that point the fact that a doe was found was not public knowledge. The bones were found in a remote area near the backpack of missing person Daisy Mae Heath (Tallman). In early May 2009, Special Agents were awaiting mitochondrial DNA test results on those remains, which they said then might be those of Daisy Mae Tallman/Heath. The tests were inconclusive and there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the bones belonged to Daisy. The FBI has not released further information on the remains. This Jane Doe is on no public databases (NAMUS, Doe Project) as far as I can tell. The FBI is investigating. The triple homicide of Charmaine Sanchey, 47, Toni Marie Green, 43, and Steve Alvarado, 52 is still unsolved. Their beaten and stabbed bodies were found in a small trailer outside Toppenish on Jan. 16, 2003 by their landlord who came over to collect their rent check. He found the women dead in the bedroom and Steve dead in the main living area. The trailer was on the reservation but it is unclear which victims (if any) were tribal members. Authorities say that they have few leads and few suspects. Later, Charmaine Sanchey’s brother, Arthur Joseph Sanchey, was the primary suspect, but was acquitted of charges in July 2004. The brutal triple homicide is still a mystery. Sandra Lee Smiscon did not die on the reservation but I believe her case deserves a spot in this piece. In the year 2003, Sandra was a 45-year-old mother of 3 children who split her time between Wapato and Seattle. After high school, Sandra got a job in a nursing home and mothered three children. After her personal relationships fell apart Sandra became lost and her children were placed in the custody of their fathers and other family members. She often traveled to Seattle and did odd jobs but was basically drifting around. According to her brother Walter, Sandra was a “party animal” who loved having a good time but sometimes let the drinking get the better of her. Despite her flaws he remembers his sister as a somewhat shy individual with a huge, bright smile who taught her younger daughter the art of traditional dance. Sandra traveled home regularly for family events and holidays but never stayed for long. One day Sandra and her companions were sleeping near 4th and Yesler streets in Seattle when a man, angered by nearby fireworks shot into the homeless camp aimlessly, injuring a few people and killing Sandra. Her 2003 murder is still unsolved. Sandra’s name is part of the Fallen Leaves memorial, a place of remembrance for deceased homeless individuals as a way to give them dignity and a place to be remembered. Her case is still unsolved. The suspect is described as young man in his 20-30s with a dark complexion but of unknown race. Seattle police department is investigating. Shari Dee Sampson Elwell age 30, had not been seen for weeks when her battered and sexually mutilated body was found in a remote area by hunters near White Swan. Her body was found during February 1992 in the middle of a blizzard. She had been beaten, mutilated, and strangled. Little has been done to solve her case and very little information is available. Skeletal unidentified Native woman believed to be in her late 20s or early 30s were found on Feb. 16, 1988, near Parker Dam in Union Gap. Her cause of death has not been determined but her case has been ruled a homicide. She had been dead from 2-10 months. She is described as a Native female, 25-40 years old with dark brown hair that had been bleached light brown in the front. She was wearing lavender colored pants, a long sleeve shirt with a Mexican label, and brown bowling shoes, one with a black sole and one with a white sole. She was slight and short 4’11” to 5’1”. She is not Daisy Tallman/Heath or Karen Johnley. Despite her heritage she is NOT believed to be Yakama; she may be from Mexico and perhaps a migrant worker as her clothing had Mexican labels. JoAnne Betty (Wyman) John the 44-year-old mother of eleven children, was reported missing on August 1st, 1988. A partial skeleton was a discovered in February 1991 which was determined to be John’s. Her cause of death was ruled “homicidal violence.” Little information is available in her case. The FBI are investigating. Rozelia Lou (Tulee) Sohappy, 31, of Brownstown was last seen alive New Year’s Eve of 1988. Her partially clothed body was found March 13, 1989, in a remote ravine along the south slope of Ahtanum Ridge north of Brownstown. She was identified through dental records, and an autopsy concluded she had been strangled. Very little information is available. Jenece Marie Wilson was 20 years old in August 1987. The young woman who lived in Toppenish, when to a party one night and then left the next morning to hitch hike to her boyfriend’s place in Sunnyside, Washington but she never made it. On August 9th a farmer found the body of a woman in his orchard which was so severely beaten it was hard to establish her identity. Dental records confirmed that the body belonged to Jenece and she had died from a blow to the head. In 2009, twenty-two years later DNA evidence was run through the system and there was a hit. The DNA matched an Oregon convict, Samuel Posada. Samuel had attended the same high school as Jenece but the two did not appear to know each other. He was arrested and charged with murder and rape. Strangely, Posada waived his right to jury trial but was acquitted of all charges by the judge in his 2011 trial. Jenece’s case has been cold ever since. Babette Crystall Greene was 26 years old and lived in the town of Toppenish but was last seen in Yakima, Washington in October 1986. A member of the Warm Springs tribe in Oregon, her skeletal remains were found during the summer of 1987 off North Track Road near Wapato, Washington. Her cause of death is listed as “homicidal violence.” Very little information is available. Clydell Alice Sampson age 25 of Klickitat had not been seen alive since sometime in 1984 when her skeleton was found by hunters near Hambre Butte, south of Granger, Washington in December, 1986. Her death was ruled a homicide and she died from a gunshot wound. Very little information is available; there are no pictures available of Clydell. Mavis Josephine McKay was a member of the Confederated tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon. She was 33 years old when she was found murdered in an irrigation ditch on August 13th, 1957 in Satus, a very isolated area of the reservation. Because her case is so old, very little information is available. Mysterious deaths Echo Kay Littlewolf was 31 years old when she was last seen alive. Echo is described as a tomboy who loved camping, animals, and being outside. Echo was homeless at the time of her disappearance and lived in a tent on the reservation but contacted relatives often, at least twice a week. She would pop into her parents’ or grandparents’ house to shower and do odd jobs for money for friends and relatives but always returned to her nomadic lifestyle. On August 15th, 2017 Littlewolf’s grandmother had not heard from her in a week and contacted Echo’s mother, Jeanette Osborne, who drove to her daughter’s campsite. As soon as she smelled decomposition, she called tribal authorities who found the body of Echo Kay Littlewolf. Her body was badly degraded due to the hot weather. Her death was ruled “natural causes” and Echo was cremated. Jeanette believes little investigation was done because Echo had used drugs in the past. According to Jeanette, her daughter’s body looked like she had been standing and then fell over after being hit with an object, nevertheless an autopsy was never ordered by authorities. Echo’s family now wishes she was buried and an autopsy could have been performed. Her suspicious death has never been solved. Angela Babette Billy, 41, of Pendleton, Oregon was an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation. She also is known as Angela Shippentower and Babette Shippentower. According to the one article I could find Angela who went by “Babette” was a victim of domestic violence. Right before she went missing Babette confided to family members that her boyfriend was abusing her. Right after that her boyfriend left her to be with a woman he had been seeing on the side. Babette’s body was found in late May 2013 in the Umatilla River near Mission, Oregon. She had been missing for over a week. She was found by two people on horseback while they were conducting a private search for her. The area was accessible only by foot, horse or four-wheelers, from one side of the river. The area in which she was found was behind the home of her boyfriend’s new romantic interest. This woman, who remains unknown to the public, also had a reputation for drugs and violent behavior. Billy’s cause of death was drowning and while her death has not been ruled a homicide it is considered “suspicious” and not simply an accident. According to family members police did not take her disappearance very seriously at first- a mistake that may have cost Babette her life. Alice Ida Looney, 38 of Toppenish was reported missing after she was last seen in Wapato in the early morning hours around Aug. 16 or 17, 2004. A hunter found her body Nov. 30, 2005, wedged under a tree on a small island in Satus Creek, about 12 miles southeast of Toppenish. Looney had family on the Cowlitz and Puyallup reservations. The FBI lists the cause of her death as inconclusive. High school and college athlete Rosy Fish, a distance relative of Looney’s, ran four races at a state track tournament (and won 3). Each race was dedicated to a missing or murdered female native relative of Fish’s, which shows the breadth of this issue. Fish’s actions have spurred other native athletes to do similar tributes. Looney’s death is still unsolved. Looney’s family also says they were never interviewed by law enforcement. Teresa R. Stahi age 25. July 27th 1987 marks the day Teresa Stahi’s body was found drowned in a canal. Her clothed body was pulled from a fish screen in a diversion canal off Toppenish Creek south of Granger. An autopsy concluded she drowned and had been in the water less than 12 hours. The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office said it ruled out foul play. However, an FBI memo listed Stahi’s case as a “mysterious death matter.” Law enforcement now says her death is “inconclusive.” Very little information is available. Sara Dee Winnier age 24 had recently moved back to the reservation after living in California. She was found at 3:30 a.m. July 22, 1985, sitting upright in the driver’s seat of a burning car off McDonald Road about half a mile from U.S. Highway 97. Her body was badly burned and the coroner used dental records to identify her. Winnier lived in a remote part of the reservation and worked at the Save More Grocery in Wapato. Her death is suspicious and unsolved. Little information is available. Celestine Spencer, 21 sometimes called Celestine Yallup, of Wapato had been missing two weeks when her body was found at the bottom of a gully in a field off McCullough Road along the north slope of Ahtanum Ridge. She was found Nov. 11, 1982, at the bottom of a hill near a field. Her death while somewhat suspicious was determined to be hypothermia was deemed a probable accident. Celestine’s aunt was awarded custody of her son, Roland, who had some disabilities and various medical problems. Tragically, less than two years later Roland (age 3) disappeared in a child abduction in Wapato and has not been seen since. His Charley Project page is here- http://charleyproject.org/case/roland-jack-spencer-iii. Lesora Yvette Eli was only 19 years old when a farmer found her fully clothed body along Parton Road near Toppenish on Feb. 2, 1982. She was face down in a drainage ditch. While the County Coroner’s Office listed the death as accidental drowning, FBI investigators claim it is a possible homicide. Her death has never been solved and very little information is available. Sheila Pearl Lewis, a 33-year-old social worker who worked at DSHS in Yakima was found dead in August of 1980 near Parker Dam in Union Gap. An autopsy showed that she died of massive internal injuries most likely from being hit by a large car or truck. Even though her death is most likely a hit and run, it is classified as suspicious rather than a homicide. Sheila lived on the reservation. Very little information is available in her case. What happened to these people? Is there a serial killer on the loose? Or simply an epidemic of violence towards women? Hopefully, these cases can one day be solved. I have been thinking of writing up the stories of missing men and boys on the reservation, if you would be interested in a write up on that let me know in the comments below. If you are interested in this issue as a whole, I suggest this podcast by Canadian journalist Connie Walker who explains and dives deeply into the issues discussed in the piece. https://www.cbc.ca/radio/findingcleo/missing-murdered-who-killed-alberta-williams-1.4556030#:~:text=Sparked%20by%20a%20chilling%20tip,in%20British%20Columbia%20in%201989. If you are interested in the cases of other missing Native Americans, my write ups on the Teekah Lewis and Bryce Herda cases can be found here on my reddit profile. https://www.reddit.com/useQuirky-Motor Special thanks to these sources: https://www.yakimaherald.com/news/local/murdered-missing-and-mysterious-deaths-of-native-girls-and-women-on-and-around-the-yakama/article_46068a45-4f5f-5f8e-b37d-198fd98ac5a5.html https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/we-have-so-many-missing-people-coroner-tests-remains-found-on-yakima-river-island-as-families-wait-hope/ https://kimatv.com/news/local/over-one-third-of-missing-indigenous-women-in-wa-disappeared-from-yakima-county-wsp-says http://lostandmissinginindiancountry.com/Newsletters/July2019.pdf https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/seattle/press-releases/2009/se050609-1.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakama_Indian_Reservation http://www.yakamanation-nsn.gov/ https://www.thesciencehippy.com/health/mmiw-the-women-she-represents http://charleyproject.org/
Not Financial Advice (NFA) Warning: Wall of Text. If you hate reading just skim through the bolded/italicized Ever since I publicized my findings on DKNG, the stock has underperformed & probably has fucked a lot of people here, especially given the overly bullish stance back in June. Unless you took my advice & got into Puts then, congrats, welcome to tendie town. For the ADHD retards, here’s what the next wall of text is going to summarize: I believe at the current price of ~$30, the stock is oversold. A tech-focused, high-growth Company that has made sports betting easy to understand with an aesthetically pleasing interface similar to how Robinhood has neatly laid out stock market gimmicks so even high-schoolers can make sense of it I believe, is underpriced at these levels. Let’s get into some details as to why the stock has underperformed: First off, the news slate revolving sports with the rumored delay/cancellation of the MLB season & the NFL watching from the sidelines is in my view, just a part of why the stock has underperformed. We’ll revisit this later in this post, but I want to focus on the drivers of the stock’s recent underperformance, & why these factors are now in the rearview mirror. Part I – The Past Has Passed – SPAC-related Equity Dilution History lesson first: DKNG went public via a SPAC merger, which has exploded in popularity recently. Anyone serious about analyzing stocks going forward needs to do their homework on this, Google is your friend. A feature of most SPAC merger to public listings that creates a headwind to near-term share prices are embedded equity dilution events, usually in the form of earn-outs (stock bonuses to execs, the SPAC sponsor) & conversion of Warrants. On 5/24, the earn-outs were triggered, adding 6m shares to the share count. On 6/26, 16.3m warrants converted to DKNG, netting them ~$188m of cash. Stepping back a little, in addition to the above, on 6/18 DKNG launched a follow-on equity offering of 16M shares @ $40/Share , receiving $621M in proceeds. The last part is tricky to understand from a dilution perspective. To simplify, historically it’s almost a coin toss whether a Company’s shares outperform on the onset of an equity offering. While issuing shares does dilute the existing shareholder base, it theoretically shouldn’t, if the proceeds from the offering are earmarked for investments/projects that yield outsized returns. This is the reality for the long term, theory for the short-term. For the short-term, the ‘reality’ isn’t that the proceeds will be used for investments/projects that yield outsized returns, it is more about how convincing management is to investors that the investments they intend to pursue with the proceeds will outweigh the dilutive effects of issuing incremental shares. That’s a mouthful, but hopefully you get what I’m trying to convey. All of this stuff put together – the Company has increased its share count by ~39M, but now has a whopping ~$1.4Bn of cash . More on this in the next section. Part II – MLB News Should Not Fucking Matter & DKNG Is Positioned As the Leading Online/Mobile Sports Platform DKNG should not be so tied to MLB news or any of this shit as the ongoing success of the NBA/NHL season + Soccer in Europe has effectively created a blueprint on how to regulate player behavior so that they maintain professionalism amidst the pandemic. I’m going out on a whim here, but I truly think the MLB threatening a cancellation of the season is pure posturing to get these fuckers to behave appropriately. Maybe a ‘bubble’ is what it takes to get these players to focus on their jobs instead of going out & contracting COVID, but I argue that isn’t necessarily required given Soccer in Europe. So there’s already a proven path here without the need for a bubble in Soccer, so MLB/NFL should be fine, and execs need to study how they got it done in Europe. Okay, back to some facts. Anecdotally, I’ve kept in touch with a handful of sports bookies from California to New York & even internationally about what they’re seeing – all of them say that since the NBA season started on 7/30 & since Soccer (especially the Premier League) resumed in June, along with other leagues like La Liga & Serie A, they’ve seen massive increases in betting. These numbers are also showing up in the official data :
Average % increase in sports betting handle from April 2020 to June 2020 (handle is the total $ wagered in sports bets) from the states that reported up to June 2020 (NJ, PA, MS, RI, WV, IA, IN, NH) of +258%!
Note: NV is left out due to the site I sourced showing a weirdly negative number – so I dug into the official filings & show specifically, Sports Mobile betting growth from June since April has growing by at least +73% 
REMEMBER: This is for June only! No NBA, No NHL, No MLB, just Soccer, Golf, NASCAR & UFC. The data clearly shows that there was a ton of pent-up sports betting demand, which leads one Wall St. analyst to think that betting on the NBA/NHL could ABSORB the MLB’s sports betting handle (handle = total $ size of sports bet) . Remember, the MLB season is still ongoing, with games being played. The entire focus is on the Miami Marlins & St. Louis Cardinals. Fucking retards. Additionally, I want to remind everyone that DraftKings.com is the #1 Fantasy sports website in the U.S. . Also, since April 2020 site visitations are up +86%  & Google Search Trends for “Draft Kings” is up ~3xcompared to PRE-COVID levels . What does this mean? They are piquing more people’s curiosity than prior to COVID/ongoing slate of sports. This is important because remember that ~$1.4Bn chest full of cash I mentioned DKNG had assembled earlier? Well, that money is being put to work & results are already coming in, which is exactly what DKNG intended to do with it. Part III – Legalization of Sports Betting in the U.S. I could write a fucking bible on this topic alone, but for now we’ll stick to some basics. Due to COVID, it’s easy to understand that each State’s financial situation is clearly in shit. Because of this, you better believe that these guys are going to start taking a hard look at how they can extract additional tax revenues, & what’s one of the easiest ways to do this? Legalization & taxation of gambling. The big players: CA, TX, FL & NY. First, CA pushing its legislation out to 2023 was fucked up, but here’s a twist I want to add to this: Anything that has to do with gambling in CA you better believe is lobbied against by not just the Tribal casino owners in CA, but by the deep pockets of Las Vegas money. Similar thing can be said for FL, but let’s take a look at some actions by LV/nationwide gambling companies that are starting to align financial incentives with guys like DKNG.
MGM / GVC Holdings JV in BetMGM - $450m total invested
PENN invests $163m into BS Sports
Caesars has a 20% stake in William Hill plus partnership deals with The Stars Group (TSG) & our winner DKNG for operating its sports books
So it’s safe to say going forward, nationwide legalization of sports betting will reap rewards for everyone involved, & no longer be something LV money is completely focused on safeguarding. Let’s also not forget that DKNG didn’t become the Company they are today because of their fancy app, but because their management team has a HISTORY of navigating the U.S.’s legal framework to get what they want out of it.
The Crown Jewel – The Internet Gambling Prohibition & Enforcement Act: I said it in a previous post, but I want to emphasize that them getting Fantasy Sports to be labeled a ‘game of skill’ by FEDERAL Law as opposed to gambling is just something for the history books. Fucking genius shit. When this happened I bet every casino from LV to every Indian Tribe that has one was against it, yet DKNG & other DFS providers won.
There’s more, but more recently: Getting into IL:
In IL, there’s an 18-month ‘penalty box’ for Companies that offer DFS to offer sports betting. Our guys at DKNG created a workaround to this situation with their partnership with Casino Queen . DKNG being savvy again.
TL;DR: Man with too much time on his hands goes deep down the rabbit hole on a concept this sub already didn’t seem that enthusiastic about. If you really want to skip ahead, CTRL+F “verdict” and it’ll get you there. Two days ago, u/MrPhillyj2wns made a post asking whether USL should launch a D1 league in order to compete in Concacaf. From the top voted replies, it appears this made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move. But I’ve been at home for eight weeks and I am terribly, terribly bored. So, I present to you this overview of what the USL pyramid might look like if Jake Edwards got a head of steam and attempted to establish a USSF-sanctioned first division. This is by no means an endorsement of such a proposal or even a suggestion that USL SHOULD do such a thing. It is merely an examination of whether they COULD. Welcome to the Thunderdome USL Premiership First, there are some base-level assumptions we must make in this exercise, because it makes me feel more scientific and not like a guy who wrote this on Sunday while watching the Belarusian Premier League (Go BATE Borisov!).
All D1 teams must comply with known USSF requirements for D1 leagues (more on that later).
MLS, not liking this move, will immediately remove all directly-owned affiliate clubs from the USL structure (this does not include hybrid ownerships, like San Antonio FC – NYCFC). This removes all MLS2 teams but will not affect Colorado Springs, Reno, RGVFC and San Antonio.
The USL will attempt to maintain both the USL Championship and USL League One, with an eventual mind toward creating the pro/rel paradise that is promised in Relegations 3:16.
All of my research regarding facility size and ownership net worth is correct – this is probably the biggest leap of faith we have to make, since googling “NAME net worth” and “CITY richest people” doesn’t seem guaranteed to return accurate results.
The most a club can increase its available seating capacity to meet D1 requirements in a current stadium is no more than 1,500 seats (10% of the required 15,000). If they need to add more, they’ll need a new facility.
Let’s pretend that people are VERY willing to sell. It’s commonly acknowledged that the USL is a more financially feasible route to owning a soccer club than in MLS (c.f. MLS-Charlotte’s reported $325 million expansion fee) and the USSF has some very strict requirements for D1 sanctioning. It becomes pretty apparent when googling a lot of team’s owners that this requirement isn’t met, so let’s assume everyone that can’t sells to people who meet the requirements.
(Known) USSF D1 league requirements: - League must have 12 teams to apply and 14 teams by year three - Majority owner must have a net worth of $40 million, and the ownership group must have a total net worth of $70 million. The value of an owned stadium is not considered when calculating this value. - Must have teams located in the Eastern, Central and Pacific time zones - 75% of league’s teams must be based in markets with at a metro population of at least 1 million people. - All league stadiums must have a capacity of at least 15,000 The ideal club candidate for the USL Premiership will meet the population and capacity requirements in its current ground, which will have a grass playing surface. Of the USL Championship’s 27 independent/hybrid affiliate clubs, I did not find one club that meets all these criteria as they currently stand. Regarding turf fields, the USSF does not have a formal policy regarding the ideal playing surface but it is generally acknowledged that grass is superior to turf. 6 of 26 MLS stadiums utilize turf, or roughly 23% of stadiums. We’ll hold a similar restriction for our top flight, so 2-3 of our top flight clubs can have turf fields. Seem fair? Capacity is going to be the biggest issue, since the disparity between current requirements for the second-tier (5,000) and the first tier (15,000) is a pretty massive gap. Nice club you have there, triple your capacity and you’re onto something. As a result, I have taken the liberty of relocating certain (read: nearly all) clubs to new grounds, trying my utmost to keep those clubs in their current markets and –importantly--, ensure they play on grass surfaces. So, let’s do a case-by-case evaluation and see if we can put together 12-14 teams that meet the potential requirements, because what else do you have to do? For each club’s breakdown, anything that represents a chance from what is currently true will be underlined. Candidate: Birmingham Legion FC Location (Metro population): Birmingham, Ala. (1,151,801) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Legion Field (FieldTurf, 71,594) Potential owner: Stephens Family (reported net worth $4 billion) Notes: Birmingham has a pretty strong candidacy. Having ditched the 5,000-seater BBVA Field for Legion Field, which sits 2.4 miles away, they’ve tapped into the city’s soccer history. Legion Field hosted portions of both the men’s and women’s tournaments at the 1996 Olympics, including a 3-1 U.S. loss to Argentina that saw 83,183 pack the house. The Harbert family seemed like strong ownership contenders, but since the death of matriarch Marguerite Harbert in 2015, it’s unclear where the wealth in the family is concentrated, so the Stephens seem like a better candidate. The only real knock that I can think of is that we really want to avoid having clubs play on turf, so I’d say they’re on the bubble of our platonic ideal USL Prem. Candidate: Charleston Battery Location (Metro population): Charleston, S.C. (713,000) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Johnson Hagood Stadium (Grass, ~14,700) Potential owner: Anita Zucker (reported net worth $3 billion) Notes: Charleston’s candidacy isn’t looking great. Already disadvantaged due to its undersized metro population, a move across the Cooper River to Johnson Hagood Stadium is cutting it close in terms of capacity. The stadium, home to The Citadel’s football team, used to seat 21,000, before 9,300 seats on the eastern grandstand were torn down in 2017 to deal with lead paint that had been used in their construction. Renovation plans include adding 3,000 seats back in, which could hit 15,000 if they bumped it to 3,300, but throw in a required sale by HCFC, LLC (led by content-creation platform founder Rob Salvatore) to chemical magnate Anita Zucker, and you’ll see there’s a lot of ifs and ands in this proposal. Candidate: Charlotte Independence Location (Metro population): Charlotte, N.C. (2,569, 213) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Jerry Richardson Stadium (Turf, 15,314) Potential owner: James Goodnight (reported net worth $9.1 billion) Notes: Charlotte ticks a lot of the boxes. A move from the Sportsplex at Matthews to UNC-Charlotte’s Jerry Richardson stadium meets capacity requirements, but puts them on to the dreaded turf. Regrettably, nearby American Legion Memorial Stadium only seats 10,500, despite a grass playing surface. With a sizeable metro population (sixth-largest in the USL Championship) and a possible owner in software billionaire James Goodnight, you’ve got some options here. The biggest problem likely lies in direct competition for market share against a much better-funded MLS Charlotte side due to join the league in 2021. Candidate: Hartford Athletic Location (Metro population): Hartford, Conn. (1,214,295) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Pratt & Whitney Stadium (Grass, 38,066) Potential owner: Ray Dalio (reported net worth $18.4 billion) Notes: Okay, I cheated a bit here, having to relocate Hartford to Pratt & Whitney Stadium, which is technically in East Hartford, Conn. I don’t know enough about the area to know if there’s some kind of massive beef between the two cities, but the club has history there, having played seven games in 2019 while Dillon Stadium underwent renovations. If the group of local businessmen that currently own the club manage to attract Dalio to the table, we’re on to something. Candidate: Indy Eleven Location (Metro population): Indianapolis, Ind. (2,048,703) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lucas Oil Stadium (Turf, 62,421) Potential owner: Jim Irsay (reported net worth of $3 billion) Notes: Indy Eleven are a club that are SO CLOSE to being an ideal candidate – if it weren’t for Lucas Oil Stadium’s turf playing surface. Still, there’s a lot to like in this bid. I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what current owner and founder Ersal Ozdemir is worth, but it seems like there might be cause for concern. A sale to Irsay, who also owns the NFL Indianapolis (nee Baltimore) Colts, seems likely to keep the franchise there, rather than make a half-mile move to 14,230 capacity Victory Field where the AAA Indianapolis Indians play and expand from there. Candidate: Louisville City FC Location (Metro population): Louisville, Ky. (1,297,310) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lynn Family Stadium (Grass, 14,000, possibly expandable to 20,000) Potential owner: Wayne Hughes (reported net worth $2.8 billion) Notes: I’m stretching things a bit here. Lynn Family stadium is currently listed as having 11,700 capacity that’s expandable to 14,000, but they’ve said that the ground could hold as many as 20,000 with additional construction, which might be enough to grant them a temporary waiver from USSF. If the stadium is a no-go, then there’s always Cardinal Stadium, home to the University of Louisville’s football team, which seats 65,000 but is turf. Either way, it seems like a sale to someone like Public Storage founder Wayne Hughes will be necessary to ensure the club has enough capital. Candidate: Memphis 901 FC Location (Metro population): Memphis, Tenn. (1,348,260) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Liberty Bowl Stadium (Turf, 58,325) Potential owner: Fred Smith (reported net worth $3 billion) Notes: Unfortunately for Memphis, AutoZone Park’s 10,000 seats won’t cut it at the D1 level. With its urban location, it would likely prove tough to renovate, as well. Liberty Bowl Stadium more than meets the need, but will involve the use of the dreaded turf. As far as an owner goes, FedEx founder Fred Smith seems like a good local option. Candidate: Miami FC, “The” Location (Metro population): Miami, Fla. (6,158,824) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Riccardo Silva Stadium (FieldTurf, 20,000) Potential owner: Riccardo Silva (reported net worth $1 billion) Notes: Well, well, well, Silva might get his wish for top-flight soccer, after all. He’s got the money, he’s got the metro, and his ground has the capacity. There is the nagging issue of the turf, though. Hard Rock Stadium might present a solution, including a capacity of 64,767 and a grass playing surface. It is worth noting, however, that this is the first profile where I didn’t have to find a new potential owner for a club. Candidate: North Carolina FC Location (Metro population): Durham, N.C. (1,214,516 in The Triangle) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Carter-Finley Stadium (Grass/Turf, 57,583) Potential owner: Steve Malik (precise net worth unknown) / Dennis Gillings (reported net worth of $1.7 billion) Notes: We have our first “relocation” in North Carolina FC, who were forced to trade Cary’s 10,000-seat WakeMed Soccer Park for Carter-Finley Stadium in Durham, home of the NC State Wolfpack and 57,583 of their closest friends. The move is a whopping 3.1 miles, thanks to the close-knit hub that exists between Cary, Durham and Raleigh. Carter-Finley might be my favorite of the stadium moves in this exercise. The field is grass, but the sidelines are artificial turf. Weird, right? Either way, it was good enough for Juventus to play a friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara there in 2011. Maybe the move would be pushed for by new owner and medical magnate Dennis Gillings, whose British roots might inspire him to get involved in the Beautiful Game. Straight up, though, I couldn’t find a net worth for current owner Steve Malik, though he did sell his company MedFusion for $91 million in 2010, then bought it back for an undisclosed amount and sold it again for $43 million last November. I don’t know if Malik has the juice to meet D1 requirements, but I suspect he’s close. Candidate: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Location (Metro population): Pittsburgh, Penn. (2,362,453) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Heinz Field (Grass, 64,450) Potential owner: Henry Hillman (reported net worth $2.5 billion) Notes: I don’t know a ton about the Riverhounds, but this move in particular feels like depriving a pretty blue-collar club from its roots. Highmark Stadium is a no-go from a seating perspective, but the Steelers’ home stadium at Heinz Field would more than meet the requirements and have a grass surface that was large enough to be sanctioned for a FIFA friendly between the U.S. WNT and Costa Rica in 2015. As for an owner, Tuffy Shallenberger (first ballot owner name HOF) doesn’t seem to fit the USSF bill, but legendary Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Hillman might. I’m sure you’re asking, why not the Rooney Family, if they’ll play at Heinz Field? I’ll tell you: I honestly can’t seem to pin down a value for the family. The Steelers are valued at a little over a billion and rumors persist that Dan Rooney is worth $500 million, but I’m not sure. I guess the Rooneys would work too, but it’s a definite departure from an owner in Shallenberger who was described by one journalist as a guy who “wears boots, jeans, a sweater and a trucker hat.” Candidate: Saint Louis FC Location (Metro population): St. Louis, Mo. (2,807,338) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Busch Stadium (Grass, 45,494) Potential owner: William DeWitt Jr. (reported net worth $4 billion) Notes: Saint Louis has some weirdness in making the jump to D1. Current CEO Jim Kavanaugh is an owner of the MLS side that will begin play in 2022. The club’s current ground at West Community Stadium isn’t big enough, but perhaps a timely sale to Cardinals owner William DeWitt Jr. could see the club playing games at Busch Stadium, which has a well established history of hosting other sports like hockey, college football and soccer (most recently a U.S. WNT friendly against New Zealand in 2019). The competition with another MLS franchise wouldn’t be ideal, like Charlotte, but with a big enough population and cross marketing from the Cardinals, maybe there’s a winner here. Wacko idea: If Busch doesn’t pan out, send them to The Dome. Sure, it’s a 60k turf closed-in stadium, but we can go for that retro NASL feel and pay homage to our nation’s soccer history. Candidate: Tampa Bay Rowdies Location (Metro population): Tampa, Fla. (3,068,511) Time zone: Eastern Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Raymond James Stadium (Grass, 65,518) Potential owner: Edward DeBartolo Jr. (reported net worth $3 billion) Notes: This one makes me sad. Despite having never been there, I see Al Lang Stadium as an iconic part of the Rowdies experience. Current owner Bill Edwards proposed an expansion to 18,000 seats in 2016, but the move seems to have stalled out. Frustrated with the city’s lack of action, Edwards sells to one-time San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., who uses his old NFL connections to secure a cushy lease at the home of the Buccaneers in Ray Jay, the site of a 3-1 thrashing of Antigua and Barbuda during the United States’ 2014 World Cup Qualifying campaign. Breather. Hey, we finished the Eastern Conference teams. Why are you still reading this? Why am I still writing it? Time is a meaningless construct in 2020 my friends, we are adrift in the void, fueled only by brief flashes of what once was and what may yet still be. Candidate: Austin Bold FC Location (Metro population): Austin, Texas (2,168,316) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 95,594) Potential owner: Michael Dell (reported net worth of $32.3 billion) Notes: Anthony Precourt’s Austin FC has some unexpected competition and it comes in the form of tech magnate Michael Dell. Dell, were he to buy the club, would be one of the richest owners on our list and could flash his cash in the new first division. Would he have enough to convince Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (I’m not kidding, that’s its actual name) to go back to a grass surface, like it did from ’96-’08? That’s between Dell and nearly 100,000 UT football fans, but everything can be had for the right price. Candidate: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC Location (Metro population): Colorado Springs, Colo. (738,939) Time zone: Mountain Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Falcon Stadium (FieldTurf, 46,692) Potential owner: Charles Ergen (reported net worth $10.8 billion) Notes: Welcome to Colorado Springs. We have hurdles. For the first time in 12 candidates, we’re back below the desired 1 million metro population mark. Colorado Springs actually plans to build a $35 million, 8,000 seat venue downtown that will be perfect for soccer, but in our timeline that’s 7,000 seats short. Enter Falcon Stadium, home of the Air Force Academy Falcons football team. Seems perfect except for the turf, right? Well, the tricky thing is that Falcon Stadium is technically on an active military base and is (I believe) government property. Challenges to getting in and out of the ground aside, the military tends to have a pretty grim view of government property being used by for-profit enterprises. Maybe Charles Ergen, founder and chairman of Dish Network, would be able to grease the right wheels, but you can go ahead and throw this into the “doubtful” category. It’s a shame, too. 6,035 feet of elevation is one hell of a home-field advantage. Candidate: El Paso Locomotive FC Location: El Paso, Texas Time zone: Mountain Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Sun Bowl (FieldTurf, 51,500) Potential owner: Paul Foster (reported net worth $1.7 billion) Notes: God bless Texas. When compiling this list, I found so many of the theoretical stadium replacements were nearly serviceable by high school football fields. That’s insane, right? Anyway, Locomotive don’t have to settle for one of those, they’ve got the Sun Bowl, which had its capacity reduced in 2001 to a paltry 51,500 (from 52,000) specifically to accommodate soccer. Sure, it’s a turf surface, but what does new owner Paul Foster (who is only the 1,477th wealthiest man in the world, per Forbes) care, he’s got a team in a top league. Side note: Did you know that the Sun Bowl college football game is officially, through sponsorship, the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl? Why is it not the Frosted Flakes Sun Bowl? Why is the cereal mascot the promotional name of the football game? What are you doing, Kellogg’s? Candidate: Las Vegas Lights FC Location: Las Vegas, Nev. (2,227,053) Time zone: Pacific Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Allegiant Stadium (Grass, 61,000) Potential owner: Sheldon Adelson (reported net worth $37.7 billion) Notes: Sin City. You had to know that the club that once signed Freddy Adu because “why not” was going to go all out in our flashy hypothetical proposal. Thanks to my narrative control of this whole thing, they have. Adelson is the second-richest owner in the league and has decided to do everything first class. That includes using the new Raiders stadium in nearby unincorporated Paradise, Nevada, and spending boatloads on high profile transfers. Zlatan is coming back to the U.S., confirmed. Candidate: New Mexico United Location: Albuquerque, N.M. Time zone: Mountain Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Isotopes Park – officially Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park (Grass, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion) Potential owner: Maloof Family (reported net worth $1 billion) Notes: New Mexico from its inception went deep on the community vibe, and I’ve tried to replicate that in this bid. The home field of Rio Grande Cr---I’m not typing out the whole thing—Isotopes Park falls just within the expansion rules we set to make it to 15,000 (weird, right?) and they’ve found a great local ownership group in the Lebanese-American Maloof (formerly Maalouf) family from Las Vegas. The only thing to worry about would be the metro population, but overall, this could be one of the gems of USL Prem. Candidate: Oklahoma City Energy FC Location: Oklahoma City, Okla. (1,396,445) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (Grass, 13,066) Potential owner: Harold Hamm (reported net worth $14.2 billion) Notes: There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow and it says it’s time to change stadiums and owners to make it to D1. A sale to oil magnate Harold Hamm would give the club the finances it needs, but Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (home of the OKC Dodgers) actually falls outside of the boundary of what would meet capacity if 1,500 seats were added. Could the club pull off a move to Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma – home of the Oklahoma Sooners? Maybe, but at 20 miles, this would be a reach. Candidate: Orange County SC Location: Irvine, Calif. (3,176, 000 in Orange County) Time zone: Pacific Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Angels Stadium of Anaheim (Grass, 43,250) Potential owner: Arte Moreno (reported net worth $3.3 billion) Notes: You’ll never convince me that Rangers didn’t choose to partner with Orange County based primarily on its name. Either way, a sale to MLB Angels owner Arte Moreno produces a fruitful partnership, with the owner choosing to play his newest club out of the existing Angels stadium in OC. Another baseball conversion, sure, but with a metro population of over 3 million and the closest thing this hypothetical league has to an LA market, who’s complaining? Candidate: Phoenix Rising FC Location: Phoenix, Ariz. (4,857,962) Time zone: Arizona Stadium (playing surface, capacity): State Farm Stadium (Grass, 63,400) Potential owner: Ernest Garcia II (reported net worth $5.7 billion) Notes: We’re keeping it local with new owner and used car guru Ernest Garcia II. His dad owned a liquor store and he dropped out of college, which is making me feel amazing about my life choices right now. Casino Arizona Field is great, but State Farm Stadium is a grass surface that hosted the 2019 Gold Cup semifinal, so it’s a clear winner. Throw in Phoenix’s massive metro population and this one looks like a lock. Candidate: Reno 1868 FC Location: Reno, Nev. (425,417) Time zone: Pacific Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Mackay Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000) Potential owner: Nancy Walton Laurie (reported net worth $7.1 billion) Notes: The Biggest Little City on Earth has some serious barriers to overcome, thanks to its low metro population. A sale to Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie and 1.6 mile-move to Mackay Stadium to split space with the University of Nevada, Reno makes this bid competitive, but the turf surface is another knock against it. Candidate: Rio Grande Valley FC Location: Edinburg, Texas (900,304) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): McAllen Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion) Potential owner: Alice Louise Walton (reported net worth $45 billion) Notes: Yes, I have a second straight Walmart heiress on the list. She was the first thing that popped up when I googled “McAllen Texas richest people.” The family rivalry has spurred Walton to buy a club as well, moving them 10 miles to McAllen Memorial Stadium which, as I alluded to earlier, is a straight up high school football stadium with a full color scoreboard. Toss in an additional 1,500 seats and you’ve met the minimum, despite the turf playing surface. Candidate: San Antonio FC Location: San Antonio, Texas (2,550,960) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Alamodome (FieldTurf, 64,000) Potential owner: Red McCombs (reported net worth $1.6 billion) Notes: I wanted to keep SAFC in the Spurs family, since the franchise is valued at $1.8 billion. That said, I didn’t let the Rooneys own the Riverhounds based on the Steelers’ value and it felt wrong to change the rules, so bring on Clear Channel co-founder Red McCombs. Toyota Field isn’t viable in the first division, but for the Alamodome, which was built in 1993 in hopes of attracting an NFL franchise (and never did), San Antonio can finally claim having *a* national football league team in its town (contingent on your definition of football). Now if only we could do something about that turf… Candidate: San Diego Loyal SC Location: San Diego, Calif. (3,317,749) Time zone: Pacific Stadium (playing surface, capacity): SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm) (Grass, 70,561) Potential owner: Phil Mickelson (reported net worth $91 million) Notes: Yes, golf’s Phil Mickelson. The existing ownership group didn’t seem to have the wherewithal to meet requirements, and Phil seemed to slot right in. As an athlete himself, he might be interesting in the new challenges of a top flight soccer team. Toss in a move to the former home of the chargers and you might have a basis for tremendous community support. Candidate: FC Tulsa Location: Tulsa, Okla. (991,561) Time zone: Central Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000) Potential owner: George Kaiser ($10 billion) Notes: I’m a fan of FC Tulsa’s rebrand, but if they want to make the first division, more changes are necessary. A sale to Tulsa native and one of the 100 richest men in the world George Kaiser means that funding is guaranteed. A move to Chapman Stadium would provide the necessary seats, despite the turf field. While the undersize population might be an issue at first glance, it’s hard to imagine U.S. Soccer not granting a waiver over a less than a 10k miss from the mark. And that’s it! You made it. Those are all of the independent/hybrid affiliates in the USL Championship, which means that it’s time for our… VERDICT: As an expert who has studied this issue for almost an entire day now, I am prepared to pronounce which USL Championships could be most ‘ready” for a jump to the USL Prem. A reminder that of the 27 clubs surveyed, 0 of them met our ideal criteria (proper ownership $, metro population, 15,000+ stadium with grass field). Two of them, however, met almost all of those criteria: Indy Eleven and Miami FC. Those two clubs may use up two of our three available turf fields right from the outset, but the other factors they hit (particularly Silva’s ownership of Miami) makes them difficult, if not impossible to ignore for the top flight. But who fill in the rest of the slots? Meet the entire 14-team USL Premier League: Hartford Athletic Indy Eleven Louisville City FC Miami FC North Carolina FC Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Tampa Bay Rowdies Saint Louis FC San Antonio FC New Mexico United Phoenix Rising FC Las Vegas Lights FC Orange County SC San Diego Loyal SC Now, I shall provide my expert rationale for each club’s inclusion/exclusion, which can be roughly broken down into four categories. Firm “yes” Hartford Athletic: It’s a good market size with a solid stadium. With a decent investor and good community support, you’ve got potential here. Indy Eleven: The turf at Lucas Oil Stadium is no reason to turn down a 62,421 venue and a metro population of over 2 million. Louisville City FC: Why doesn’t the 2017 & 2018 USL Cup champion deserve a crack at the top flight? They have the market size, and with a bit of expansion have the stadium at their own SSS. LCFC, you’re in. Miami FC, “The”: Our other blue-chip recruit on the basis of ownership value, market size and stadium capacity. Yes, that field is turf, but how could you snub Silva’s chance to claim victory as the first division 1 club soccer team to play in Miami? Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: Pittsburgh sacrificed a lot to be here (according to my arbitrary calculations). Their market size and the potential boon of soccer at Heinz Field is an important inclusion to the league. Saint Louis FC: Willie hears your “Busch League” jokes, Willie don’t care. A huge market size, combined with the absence of an NFL franchise creates opportunity. Competition with the MLS side, sure, but St. Louis has serious soccer history and we’re willing to bet it can support two clubs. Tampa Bay Rowdies: With a huge population and a massive stadium waiting nearby, Tampa Bay seems like too good of an opportunity to pass up for the USL Prem. Las Vegas Lights FC: Ostentatious, massive and well-financed, Las Vegas Lights FC is everything that the USL Premier League would need to assert that it didn’t intend to play second fiddle to MLS. Players will need to be kept on a short leash, but this is a hard market to pass up on. Phoenix Rising FC: Huge population, big grass field available nearby and a solid history of success in recent years. No brainer. San Diego Loyal SC: New club? Yes, massive population in a market that recently lost an absolutely huge sports presence? Also yes. This could be the USL Prem’s Seattle. Cautious “yes” New Mexico United: You have to take a chance on New Mexico United. The club set the league on fire with its social media presence and its weight in the community when it entered the league last season. The market may be slightly under USSF’s desired 1 million, but fervent support (and the ability to continue to use Isotopes Park) shouldn’t be discounted. North Carolina FC: Carter-Finley’s mixed grass/turf surface is a barrier, to be sure, but the 57,000+ seats it offers (and being enough to offset other fully-turf offerings) is enough to put it in the black. Orange County SC: It’s a top-tier club playing in a MLB stadium. I know it seems unlikely that USSF would approve something like that, but believe me when I say “it could happen.” Orange County is a massive market and California likely needs two clubs in the top flight. San Antonio FC: Our third and only voluntary inclusion to the turf fields in the first division, we’re counting on San Antonio’s size and massive potential stadium to see it through. Cautious “no” Birmingham Legion FC: The town has solid soccer history and a huge potential venue, but the turf playing surface puts it on the outside looking in. Memphis 901 FC: Like Birmingham, not much to dislike here outside of the turf playing surface at the larger playing venue. Austin Bold FC: See the other two above. FC Tulsa: Everything’s just a little bit off with this one. Market’s slightly too small, stadium has turf. Just not enough to put it over the top. Firm “no” Charleston Battery: Small metro and a small potential new stadium? It’s tough to say yes to the risk. Charlotte Independence: A small new stadium and the possibility of having to compete with an organization that just paid over $300 million to join MLS means it’s best for this club to remain in the USL Championship. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: When a club’s best chance to meet a capacity requirement is to host games at a venue controlled by the military, that doesn’t speak well to a club’s chances. El Paso Locomotive FC: An undersized market and a turf field that meets capacity requirements is the death knell for this one. Oklahoma City Energy FC: Having to expand a baseball field to meet requirements is a bad start. Having to potentially play 20 miles away from your main market is even worse. Reno 1868 FC: Population nearly a half-million short of the federation’s requirements AND a turf field at the hypothetical new stadium makes impossible to say yes to this bid. Rio Grande Valley FC: All the seat expansions in the world can’t hide the fact that McAllen Memorial Stadium is a high school stadium through and through. Here’s who’s left in the 11-team Championship: Birmingham Legion FC Charleston Battery Charlotte Independence Memphis 901 FC Austin Bold FC Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC El Paso Locomotive FC Oklahoma City Energy FC Reno 1868 FC Rio Grande Valley FC FC Tulsa With MLS folding the six affiliates it has in USL League One, the league is a little bit thin (especially considering USSF’s requirements for 8 teams for lower level leagues), but seems definitely able to expand up to the necessary numbers with Edwards’ allusions to five new additions this year: Chattanooga Red Wolves SC Forward Madison FC Greenville Triumph SC Union Omaha Richmond Kickers South Georgia Tormenta FC Tucson Format of Assorted Leagues – This (like everything in this post) is pure conjecture on my part, but here are my thoughts on how these leagues might function in a first year while waiting for additional expansion. USL Premier – We’ll steal from the 12-team Scottish Premiership. Each club plays the other 11 clubs 3 times, with either one or two home matches against each side. When each club has played 33 matches, the top six and bottom six separate, with every club playing an additional five matches (against each other team in its group). The top club wins the league. The bottom club is automatically relegated. The second-bottom club will enter a two-legged playoff against someone (see below) from the championship playoffs. USL Championship -- 11 clubs is a challenge to schedule for. How about every club plays everyone else three times (either one or two home matches against each side)? Top four clubs make the playoffs, which are decided by two-legged playoffs. The winner automatically goes up. I need feedback on the second part – is it better to have the runner-up from the playoffs face the second-bottom club from the Premiership, or should the winner of the third-place match-up get the chance to face them to keep drama going in both playoff series? As for relegation, we can clearly only send down the last place club while the third division is so small. USL League One – While the league is so small, it doesn’t seem reasonable to have the clubs play as many matches as the higher divisions. Each club could play the other six clubs four times – twice at home and twice away – for a very equitable 24-match regular season, which would help restrict costs and still provide a chance to determine a clear winner. Whoever finishes top of the table goes up. And there you have it, a hypothetical look at how the USL could build a D1 league right now. All it would take is a new stadium for almost the entire league and new owners for all but one of the 27 clubs, who wouldn’t feel that their property would be massively devalued if they got relegated. Well that’s our show. I’m curious to see what you think of all of this, especially anything that you think I may have overlooked (I’m sure there’s plenty). Anyway, I hope you’re all staying safe and well.
[UNEDITED] I saw that many of you non-swedes wanted to be able to enjoy the recent interview he did in Swedish. I have not had time to edit the text yet so it will be filled with spelling mistakes and such but if I have time later on I might fix that. The interviewer is called Mats Nileskär and he alternates between asking questions and explaining stuff so that's why sometimes it's just him retelling things that lean said earlier. Anyways here is the transcript: Mats: There was once a sixteenyearold full of love for screw, drill and Florida trap. Full of fascination for fantasy figures and the cinematic. He rapped honest, drowsy, tentatively and almost apathetic to strange, mind expanding beats. Music that didnt exist in reality. Yung leans journey from his laptop in his room in Södermalm, to sold out shows and rock star dreams in the country of Hip Hop. It is one of the most beautiful stories in the history of Swedish music. And like all beautiful stories it holds plentiful of darkness. Yung Lean could have ruined everything and been scarified on the emo rap scene. Instead he became the influential survivor. Yung Lean and the producer friends in Sad Boys changed the world and intertwined with something beyond their own existence. Lean: I usually don’t sit and count who my influences are. Because I have always had a lot of my own influences that I have payed homage to. But sometimes I don’t think about stuff and then I get a dm on Instagram. Like I got a dm from Trippie Redd that read like “Shoutout to one of my biggest influences.” Music break Ugly God. Like lots of rappers that I wouldn’t think were fans of me. Then there are these that are a bit more obvious like maybe suicide boys, Pouya. When they meet me at festivals, they are fans. And I don’t want to come off as bragging, it is the same way when, like I met young thug once in New York, and then I get star struck, I am a fan of him, nothing weird about that. But there is like, you know, group from group, it goes back. If you look at Wu Tang, and then it goes down, it gets weirder, like Odd Future and Asap Mob. And when we started, there was probably more people that thought like, like Yung Sherman, Yung Gud, Bladee, and all in Drain Gang and Sad boys and this is what we look like, we can also do this. I think we made it even more easy to access. And even more like, you only need a computer and internet. And less of, like maybe you don’t even have to skate, maybe you don’t even have to live in New York. More of like, you have a concept, and we were strict with that concept, we had a clear aesthetic, a clear way of making music videos, a clear message. It was easy to take things from that goth aspect, or the sad aspect, or like, people had purple hair like Ecco had. People dressed exactly like Bladee or Sherman, or rapped like me. And I still think that I see that today. And I’m proud, and I’m happy. I don’t see it as something negative, like, shit these boys are stealing or all these rappers are stealing, it’s more like, in that case I have also stolen. Everyone has been influenced by something, and as long as you are not ashamed about that, it’s okay, because that is how it goes. People can be like, I’ve never listened to Yung Lean, And I can see that they obviously have, and like… Music break (Unreleased Lean) Lean: We got a lot of the autotune aspect from, like Bladee and Whitearmor started using it a lot, and me and Micke (Gud) used it a lot. For us that was inspired by Future and Atlanta. And Casino and the first FBG mixtapes with young scooter and all those. Like those were using autotune. But we were from Europe, like, we are from The Knife country, Håkan Hellström, Broder Daniel (Swedish artists), it is more like Kraftwerk when we do it. It is more monotone, a bit more dead, maybe a bit more ABBA english. It is a bit more depressing I think. And that is not something you try to do, it just ends up like that. And then I think that, a mix of that, we we got big during 2013, Hip Hop went more Nihilistic, dark, it was grim. The way Chief Keef rapped, everything after Finally Rich, Bang 2, Almighty So, it was like melodies but dark mumbling about killing people. Hip Hop was going that way. You no longer had to have a hook like “Woke up in a new Ferrari”. The whole song could be the same melody. Mats: The bored and monotone mumbling turned into an anxiety lowering melody. And a manic flow of words. Yung Lean and sad boys, deeply uninterested in conventional song structures landed in the beginning of the start of a new era. Post Hip Hops surrealistic and psychedelic era. The new era was open for people that had not belong before. People that looked and sounded like Lean. A new sound, a new way to experience and listen to music. It was perplex and fascinating. Something Sad Boys happily utilized. Lean: Yeah, it’s true. As long as you, like for us it was the natural thing to do. For us it wasn’t that we were exploiting this style of music or what they were doing in the US. For us it was more like, I have rapped since I was a kid, same for making beats for Micke. Drain Gang had a punk band. All of us made music. And when the time came it was just logical for us to take part. Same with rapping in English, it just came naturally. I actually lived in Vietnam three years before that. My mom is a diplomat so I was in the English school and spoke English so rapping in English came naturally. That the beats were slowed down, that, like everything was a bit weird, it came naturally to us. And of course the timing was perfect, it wouldn’t have been able to come at a different time. I think I’ve said that before. That if that had happened in 2009 it would have felt fake. I would have had to be more of a Paul Wall character or like Petter (Swedish Rapper). I was very lucky with coming up during that time. But after all I was just being myself to 100%. I think that if I hadn’t been, it wouldn’t have worked out. Music break Lean: Except for you and some others it was typically Swedish, a prime example of how it is in Sweden. A Swedish artist comes up, something they don’t recognise. They think it’s embarrassing. A Swedish sixteen year old boy from Södermalm, a middle class boy. He shouldn’t be doing this, it’s embarrassing. They wouldn’t want to touch me with a ten foot pole. He can’t be included here blah blah blah. But the second that the US started appreciating it and when he was in the New York Times or when he collaborates with Frank Ocean or other big names. Then they are ashamed of themselves. Like “Oh shit, he is Swedish, he is with us now…” It’s typical for Sweden, the law of Jante, like you shouldn’t think that you are somebody. That was basically what I witnessed since I was sixteen. It’s sad that we can’t trust each other and support everyone. I really believe that there is room for everyone to make it in Sweden. Mats: What did it do to you, experiencing this? The Journey from hate to understanding and in the end to love. Lean: I think that it might have been easier with hate. To be completely honest, if you look back at a lot of rappers, when they were hungry, when they were still hated or underground, they had so much to give. And I had that kind of idea in my head. That it was more exciting when Sweden hated me and I was only famous in the US. I really thought it was interesting. But I have matured now, time has passed, six seven years since we talked. The music I make now is different. If I had not been loved and was still hated, it would have been a bit perverse. Maybe then I had only been provoking just to provoke. I don’t like that. Right now I think I deserve to be where I am. I wouldn’t want to be in any other position. Music break Mats: What happened when you got to the US for the first time, as an unlikely star? Lean: What happened? I can’t say I remember a lot. We were very young. Suddenly we were sitting in limousines. Lots of drugs, lots of illegal substances. We were very young, you know almost like a Metallica documentary, suddenly someone is sitting there with a knife in some group or something. No but a lot of things went downhill, but all the gigs were so much fun. It was some kind of friendship, like a family. You can’t take away all the gigs and the touring we did in the start. When we arrived in the US, it’s like, you know Femi, Emilios girlfriend, that has been with us since day one. She says it’s like we were all a part of Lost. Like the airplane crashed and when we meet each other now all of us know that we were part of that. Character wise I don’t remember anything that was any special. I remember us playing at Röda Sten in Gothenburg for 150 people. And when we got to New York we sold out Webster Hall twice, back to back. And rappers were contacting us, we were hanging out with artists. It was another level of respect. I guess I’m a bit like you there. I’m a hip hop nerd, always have been. When I started expressing myself through this music it was easier for Americans to understand what the fuck I was doing than for like a 40 year old Swedish man. So there’s nothing weird about that. But I wish I remembered more from the first tours (laughing). Music break Lean: You are sixteen, you go to the US, you are living in some hotel, you get to meet some drug dealers from Florida whom are also promoters, they have a Cadillac, and someone is backstage and lots of different rappers are coming in and suddenly Travis Scott is there and blah blah blah. Things are happening all the time. You wake up in a bed there are people around and then you have to go on stage. (Lean starts talking about something else) Is that David Lynch? Sorry we are watching a movie, we are watching Dumbo. (Back to interview) I wasn’t really ready for that. That it was going to be so much work. You don’t think that but there is so much work. Now I can do many shows. Like the last tour that I did sober I was able to do like 70-80 shows and been able to do that but you are still tired. Like you have to workout and sleep. But back then, where did all the energy come from? Including all the drugs and the shitty sleep and all partying. I don’t understand it at all. Mats: Let’s talk some more about Florida. How was it to meet spaceghostpurrp who sort of created the foundation for what you got your inspiration from, the do it yourself attitude, punk, the south, three six mafia meets other genres in Florida. How was it to meet him? Lean: I-I have to be completely honest. Spaceghostpurrp is insane you know. He is crazy as a human being. I think he is bipolar and doesn’t take his meds. And the people who actually met him, I met Denzel Curry, Travis Scott and some other people from raider klan, while all the rest of Sad Boys met Spaceghostpurrp. Because I had a bad comedown. So I didn’t meet him that time but our old manager was a good friend of him and he is a misunderstood legend, he really is. But the whole thing about him is like Rocky, the pretty artist and the genius ugly duckling. We both know that Asap Rocky got more famous because he is prettier and it just fit better. The picture was prettier to give to the people than that of spaceghostpurrp who was kind of wacky. But yeah I hope that everything is good with him. I have no contact and don’t know how he is doing nowadays, I don’t. But blacklander was some of the best. I remember when that was released and I was in eight or ninth grade. First I was so into MF DOOM and madvillain and then suddenly I saw a picture of Odd Future and then spaceghostpurrp came and then that was what I wanted to listen to all the time. And via spaceghostpurrp, I remember he linked a lot of good artist that I started listening to. So then came Waka Flocka. Mats: It must have been like heaven, but as time would tell also hell. Landing in Florida. Lean: It feels good. We were there a bit too long but it’s such a special feeling. You can go to Everglade and see alligators and you really feel all that in fort lauderdale that is it like a swamp. We recorded at a place called pink house, pink mansion. They had a lot of brick that they had thrown down so that it became pink. Rick Ross had recorded there and it’s really Florida. People run around with machetes and it’s voodoo and all of that Haiti thing. Music break Lean: And then we were there in the pink mansion and recorded all of Warlord. It was insanely creative and it was like, I guess like when you read about Black Sabbath recording it feels like you have like a demon in you and you just make so much music and don’t realise what’s happening and yeah it ended up bad. It ended up with me at the psych ward, smashing a balcony and covering myself in the blood and the same night my manager died and then I got back to Sweden and was in convalescence, like at the psych ward. After that trip a lot of things changed in my life. I remember after a while when Hoover was released, maybe two months after. All the boys, I remember Axel and Benjamin, Bladee and Sherman was like, this might be Jonathans last video ever. And I was sure of that as well for a while. My mom helped me write a CV and I walked around with that and was thinking about working at a kindergarten. Music break Lean: I was so fucking tired, of all that had to do with music, and all that shit. Music break Lean: It went down like this. Barron, may his soul rest in peace, me and Benjamin and Hunter lived in an apartment that was owned by Barrons father, who’s a lawyer named Stephen Machat. Stephen was a lawyer for Ozzy Osborne, Nate Dogg and his father, Barrons grandfather, was the lawyer that cheated Leonard Cohen out of a lot of money. So it’s a lawyer family. I had started to go into psychosis, or like drug related psychosis or an overdose for some days and I wasn’t feeling any good. Barron and Hunter was out to buy some paper, paper and soda. And while that’s happening, at the same time that Barron crashes, I’m smashing this balcony without knowing what had happened. And Benjamin calls 911. I was not in the car with him and the car did not catch on fire either. He crashed into a tree. There are a lot of weird versions of that story. But I have also heard a lot of terrible things from family members and people around that were sure that I was the devil and that I had evil powers and all that. If you think about it, I was seventeen eighteen how the fuck can you put the blame on a seventeen year old. It was tough for me as well. But I have no magic powers. Unfortunately. If I had I would use them for good things. Mats: It was the father of the manager, Stephen, that accused you of being pure evil. Lean: I wonder why it was me that got that since he has worked with like Ozzy Osborne and have told stories about when Nate Dogg ran into his office with an AK-47. Music break Lean: Yeah I wonder how I ended up being pure evil. But I guess there was something there, Swedish folklore with midsummer powers. Mats: The troll syndrome or something like that? Lean: Yeah haha, exactly, the big monster, Näcken (Water spirit) haha. Mats: But there is something provoking about it still right? Lean: When it is about peoples lives. I knew Barron, we were with each other every day. It is not fun to be called the Devil or pure evil when I was just seventeen and ended up at the psych ward. It’s about real peoples lifes. You can’t just call young people those things. And of course I understand that someone is scared and upset because their child died, but you can’t put the blame on people or call them things like that, it’s sick. But if it had been in a completely different scenario I would probably have been more proud of being called that. If it had to do with my music. But when it’s about real things it’s just scary. Music break Mats: Yung Lean took drugs, dressed up as a nurse and wrote an unreadable book about his life. Everything got out of control around the making of the dark album Warlord. Where Sweden and Florida in songs like the Billy Bragg sampled song Miami Ultras. Yung Lean took an overdose, experienced psychosis and ended up at a mental hospital. At the same time he lost his American manager in a car accident. Barrons father, the well known show business lawyer with ambitions to reach the American senate put the blame on Yung Lean. He planned to release an unfinished version of Warlord. Back in Sweden, Sad Boys could see how a version of the album had leaked. Lean: Yeah shit I remember that. Yung Sherman was celebrating his birthday and we were out bowling, or maybe it was his old girlfriend who was celebrated and suddenly everyone was on their phone like shit, Stephen has released it all. Directly on band camp connected to his account. Unfinished versions of the songs, the song names were wrong. We had been working on that album since we got back home, it was all we had. Leaks can be the worst things. If you have been quiet for so long and so much has happened and you just want to release Warlord the right way, with the correct videos and artwork and then something like that happens. It’s like a fucking punch to your face. We lost a lot of hope that day. Music break Lean: I think that the most crazy, for me, was a while ago, the had been at Fort Lauderdale at a large fair and I had bought a costume that was made for nurses and I wore that all the time. We were going to a hotel with an artist and he was buying weed from a stripper. And when we are at this hotel a man in there is arguing with the workers there and he has a large entourage and I recognise the voice. I’m like it’s Jim Jones, Jim Jones from dipset. I did not realise It by then but I had started living a little in my own world. I was begging to enter the psychosis. I was wearing the nurse outfit and took a picture with Jim Jones and we talk for a while. When I have looked at that picture years later I’ve been like what the fuck is this shit. Music break Lean: Who was it, I think it was The Who, who met in a clothing store, and a guy was like you should make music. And then they made music. And it kinda felt that way, like yeah you guys should make this music. Music break Lean: Sad rap, haha. Sad rap is quite a sickening term. It shouldn’t exist. We don’t make sad music. When you start going into the dark water you just want to go deeper and deeper. And you can only get back up when you are really hit by the waves. It was a mixture of destructivity, teenage anxiousness, and yeah, just how I felt back then. Music break Mats: What for some appeared like a smart joke in the beginning, and for others like INAUDIBLE (he speaks danish accent Swedish) entertainment had in the middle of the 20th century attracted a dedicated fan base in the US. Something that no Swedish rapper had dreamt about. Yung Lean saw the opportunity to create surrealistic art and shabby rap. And history was written when Yung Lean was the first swede to enter the top 40 American R&B list. A list whose history goes back to Harlem Hit parade, 1942, where leaders like Louis Jordan and Lionel Hampton ruled. Yung Leans Unknown Memory entered at 36th place on the album list, right above Kanye West and under Migos. It was October 2014. Lean: It sounds like a lot of fun now that you say it but the most fun was just if the songs and the album were great for me, like it goes so far. Prices and stuff comes but it’s so temporary compared to creating it, what you have gone through to create the music. Mats: Yung Lean was a a part of the drug cult. The cough syrup drinking and pill popping that defined a depressed generation. Lil Peep with Swedish roots had just started building his emo vision, related (musically) to Yung Lean, and Juice WRLD stopped breathing after just a couple of albums. Lean: The death that affected me the most among those is a person that I didn’t know that well. But it was when I met Fredo Santana and we were in the studio. Me, Fredo, Axel and some of his boys. He was the kindest. We were listening to get rich or die trying and made a song together. He was a really good guy. And the day after I got a message that he was dead. It’s not more than that. In the US and in Sweden. I have friends that have died from benzodiazepines in Sweden as well. I think that it has a lot to do with, like lean, it goes hand in hand with the sales. Lean, Codeine. First Actavis, and then it gets so expensive and after a while completely banned. Then people start drinking red, and it costs like a thousand dollars a pint. You can’t pay that much unless you are a rapper. If you are a rapper you get special prizes. And then you want to get cheaper stuff, you want to take the same things as the rappers you look up to. I guess that once everything was very weird. Around 2013-2014, there was ILoveMakonnen there was, like mushrooms and that stuff. Before it was all opioid based with Percocets. Music break Lean: It felt like, I don’t want to be that guy but, the music often gets very interesting when people are trying different stuff. I think that’s the sad reality. Maybe not with my music. I feel as I can create more when I’m sober. I have tried most of the drugs so if I feel I want to channel some type of drug I can go back in my memories to get the feeling if I want to sound a special way. If you think about like Young Thug when he made I came from nothing, you could hear he was all fucked up. You can’t do that sober. Gucci Mane is also an example. But now Gucci mane is also an example because now he’s skinny, he looks good, he has a great body, he has his wife, I wanna give him that. I don’t want him to be fat and have a codeine belly, be constipated and on the brink of dying all the time. I want him to look like he does now. I will sacrifice the music for that. His music is not good any more. But fuck that I can listen to the old songs. I’d rather have him healthy. And with Future as well. That he is afraid of going public with having quit lean because his fans wouldn’t trust him no more. That’s sad. But the music is explosive now. There is more hip hop being created now than ever before. It used to be kind of a mainstream genre with Lil Wayne and people thought it was a joke and the underground stuff was much cooler. But hip hop now, the biggest artists, it is the most experimental genre right now. It is more experimental than experimental indie pop. They use more drugs than those who do experimental jazz. It is weirder than punk. It is the weirdest there is right now. And people just have to live with that. That so many people die on the way doesn’t have to be a part of that. It could continue to be this special without people dying. Music break Lean: Much of the trap you listened to in the beginning was like, more voices, almost choirs, Siberian choirs. Gucci Manes adlibs are louder than the main track. One of Chief Keefs biggest hits, Citgo, you can’t even hear the instrumental. There’s like six different layers of “smoking on the gas, gas citgo citgo”. It’s amazing. It’s weirder than anything else and I think I saw it from my own perspective. For me, all the elements of hip hop ant trap, and the clothing, has been art. And my way of expressing myself, minimalistic, if it’s with an iPhone camera or if I get to direct a whole video, it will always be done my way. It’s a mix of movies I’ve seen, experiences I’ve had, colours I think about that day. I think that this timing. Luck doesn’t exist to put it that way. If I am allowed to leave it at that. Haha. Music break Mats: When you got back to Sweden from Florida. Your dad picked you up right? Lean: Yeah, I think both my parents were at the airport. You mean that my dad came to Florida and I walked around the mental hospital and I called my dad the king of California, because I didn’t recognise him. I just told him several times, “Are you the king of California?”. He became quite sad, but he has also been able to joke about it a lot now. There was one story that was quite scary actually. I kept saying that there was a doctor that was coming in and fucking things up for me. He was threatening me that I was gonna go to juvie and things like that, threatening me. And my dad asked me what the doctor looked like and I explained it to him. And he was like, that is not a doctor, it’s the guy who comes in to clean. He just came in to provoke me. And I was told that months later. It was quite scary. I have actually been at the psych ward in Sweden as well, much longer than in the US. 2017 I was at Danderyds (place outside of stockholm) closed section for a month. For psychosis as well, but not drug induced. But I have been sober now for two almost three years. I work out, I do boxing. I’m really happy and I’m more creative than ever. I think that everything that we’ve been talking about, me being a part of drug culture. Kids that say like, Yung Lean, I smoked my first joint for you, I took my first E for you. They would have done it to someone else’s music as well. I promise that. I’ve never pushed anyone to do drugs, I promise. I’ve just told it how it is, from my perspective. And you can do exactly the same thing and be sober as well. It is as much fun if not more fun. If I go out to club now, I can be out all night, I don’t get tired. I have much better relations now with everyone around me. I’m just a happier person. I think it’s much more fun for me to do this interview now compared to last time. (They put in a clip from the interview they did way back) Lean: It sucks to be in school but that’s also a way to be down to earth and not feel so like I’m so fucking special, which I’m not. In a way it’s nice to be in school. Like, I’m no superstar. I have a normal life. It’s nice to live out my teenage life before something crazy happens. Mats: How old are you right now? Lean: I turn eighteen this summer. (Back to the interview again) I was at the Mount Sinai (Medical Centre) in Miami. And I found out Avicii was also there when I watched his documentary. And when at the hospital in Danderyd. It was very nice I must say. I was fucked up, completely manic, but it was a very nice place. Big up to the Swedish health care. That they put up with all the people there. Music break. Lean: Those hours. All the people who are there, who try to break out, or try to commit suicide, or are screaming. You are laying there and you hear screams all night. It’s like being in a nightmare 24/7, plus that your own head is a nightmare 24/7. I had plans of escaping, I had a map of the hospital that I took a copy of and hid under my pillow. It was like One flew over the cuckoo's nest. You walk around there. Mats: Do you remember when you started making music after all this? The first attempts at getting back there musically. Lean: I was still a bit manic and when I was allowed to leave for some hours I chose to go to the studio. So I was driven to the studio from Danderyds hospital. I recorded six songs and then had to go back. When I finally left and was convalescent and quite low because of all the medication I just chose to never listen to those songs) Music break (Lean starting singing I’d rather go blind by Etta James) Lean: I have no idea what I’m talking about there. I don’t really want to know. I just remember that I made a listen to your heart cover and I made a version of Etta James song because I had listened to that so much when I was at the hospital. Music break (Lean continue to sing I’d rather go blind by Etta James) Lean: In the beginning you just try. You are like Bambi on the ice, trembling. But then I finished Stranger. We had made that album before I ended up at the hospital. Me and Micke finished it in the studio and then Whitearmor and I did our own tape. We went out to Mariefred where a guy named Pontus has a studio. He produced Britney Spears Toxic. And there we were making Poison Ivy. It felt very nice to just clear my head and the music turned out great. Those days were nice. Music break Mats: (talking about the upcoming album) The adventure continues. The new album that follows up the anxiety filled milestone, Stranger, is punky millennium R&B, that can only be made by Yung Lean. Lean: It’s everywhere. Some of the songs are almost like ballads and some are more to the classical witch house, others sound like some, you know SVT Play (Swedish national TV) intro with piano haha, it’s everywhere. But I’m very inspired by The Stooges, I wanna be your dog. That song, and R&B. Music break Mats: Jonathan spend the first time of his childhood in Belarus. Lean: You know you have some fake memories. You have a picture of an apartment. But I have one memory that I’ve been told so many times that It’s like I can see it. It’s when I was at kindergarten and my dad comes to pick me up. He asks for me and I’m not with the other kids. I had been bad so I was put in the corner with a large cone on my head. My dad walks over there and since he is Swedish he gets super mad and wanted me to quit going there. My mom was calmer and explained that that’s what they do, nothing weird about that, just some discipline. My mom is grown up in Soviet you know and went to a Russian school. Two different worlds. But I have lots of nice memories from there. I went to a school theatre and danced in snow and that stuff. I must have been a Pinocchio, somewhere around there I turned into a donkey. The cigar came. (Referring to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCBjfgXg8A4) I had a very nice childhood, middle class, Södermalm. My dad’s a writer, raised in Söder as well. My moms raised in Russia, she’s a real boss. She has had a crazy life. One time she told me that she was a cleaner at an embassy, and that one day she would be in those rooms. Now she is becoming an ambassador in Albania. She has worked her way up. I’m very proud of her. We lived in Söder. I have been to a lot of schools, Södermalmskolan, Gamla Maria, Katarina Norra, Kärrtorp… Music break Lean: When I got back to Sweden from Belarus I started going to a kindergarten. It is one of my first memories. I was still speaking Russian and I so badly wanted to be understood. I walked around speaking in Russian Swedish, can I have milk and bread, can I have milk and bread. I really wanted to learn Swedish so I forbid my parents to speak Russian with me. That was very stupid, I really wish I hadn’t said that. I wish I had learnt Russian as well. Music came into my life early. It was what made my life fun. It was always my thing and what I was good at. I think I said that last time we talked. When I was young I got a little bit famous with a song called Söder Söder. I was opening for Adam Tensta (Swedish rapper) when I was in fourth grade. Then I made a mixtape with a friend during a summer, and I made a lot of music with my sister. I dressed up and put on makeup. Went to school and listened to Green Day. You know, you wanted to, I basically dressed up the way I do today. I did the same thing back then as I do now. The only difference is that I make money now. I think that they were worried a lot. I guess the drug aspect of it. When you get so interested in things, those things comes with it. When I was I seventh grade I was caught with some weed, petty shit, and yeah they were worried about all that. But in the end they have been very proud and they will come tonight to my show. They have been to so many of my shows and they are very proud. If I make a good song I want to show it to my mom. If she likes it then it will be released. Same with my dad. I don’t know if they understood if they that there was always something extra or something special that I wanted to do. I guess you will have to ask them about that. But I know that they are proud. Music break Lean: I think it’s so much fun. That I’m Swedish and that there are not that many Swedes that like me. I means that I’ve made it. I remember when I went out to eat with my mom, she had got us Indian food, I told her that I had gotten a gig in Gothenburg. And she asked like for who, for yourself or what? She was just laughing at me. I had to convince her, showing the event. And she asked like, Yung Lean, is that you? And I showed her videos and she still didn’t get it. I finally had to call Emilio on speaker and have him explain it to her. My dad didn’t get any of it either. It was quite tough because someone had written an article where it said that I was the son of Kristoffer Leandoer, the horror writer. He was so mad, I came home from school and he was furious. He was like “What’s all this? My name, and this song, greygoose?”. But afterwards when he understood it he was proud. But no one ever understood how big it was. I was at my room all the time. We remade the basement into a small studio and I was always there. I was smart with that shit. I got like Lofty 305 and people from Miami and small underground people that I kept sending my songs to. I just sat home and we had this Tumblr that Axel created and we were like dolphins, we communicated directly to the fans, even if I had like 3 fans, and suddenly I had ten thousand fans, and we still communicated directly to them. They got to know all about us. They knew exactly what we were doing. Music break (Again a clip from the older interview when Lean was seventeen) Lean: I do not claim that I do all the things I sing about in my songs. I’ve never said that. That would be completely crazy. I wouldn’t be a good seventeen year old then. It would be insane. But I guess you should believe that Yung Lean doesn’t exist. That he is just some fucking seventeen year old that’s completely crazy, and then the real me comes in and say things and have real emotions and real lyrics. I guess the mix between those things are Yung Lean, that’s what Sad boys are. The mix of what’s real and what’s not. That’s what the listeners have to think about themselves, and decide what they want to believe and now. And what they like, is it the music or the person. Mats: And it is when you balance that where everything becomes interesting. Lean: It’s exactly that. And it’s so nice because you get to do that, while really you are not allowed to do it, it’s completely wrong, but if you really want to do it, do it, and then you do it. Everything that’s written should have to be thought of several times, nothing should be just straight forward. I get it, that’s good, now I won’t listen to it again. That’s no good. If it’s an album or a song where you get everything there’s no fun in it. It’s like watching a bad film. You want to see something that leaves an impression. It’s much more fun that people talk about me. Rather than that they just say like he’s such a good rapper. It’s not like I’m trying to be a weird rapper, I guess that what I feel like doing, that’s real. I make things from myself. I don’t rap about these crazy things because I want to be like that or because I want to build up an image. I do it because it’s what I feel like doing. I do it because it’s what I want. Music break (Back to the new interview again) Lean: I remember Charlie XCX saying that her and Robyn had been in the studio and she had shown her Ginseng strip and they had been like turn it off, turn it off. They hated it. And then some days passed and both of them had listened to it by themselves. And when they came back to the studio the just kept on listening to it. It’s like you have to hate it at first. It’s so provocative. Like he looks this way, or it’s so honest, or it’s just something. It’s too close, or I don’t know. Like it’s still a meme on all my YouTube videos. Listened first time, hated it, listened tenth time, my favourite song. It’s the Yung Lean effect. Music break Lean: I would love to make film when I get older. I would like to make film of greek tales. There is a tale of a man called Geryon, he is completely red and has a red dog and lives on a red island. He is killed by Hercules. I would like to make a film about that but more of a psychological thriller. Kinda like pusher, Snabba Cash (Swedish movie) meets Greek mythology. Mats: You have the John Ausonius (Swedish serial killer) project, you are drawn to darkness. Lean: Yeah, yes I do. It’s natural and not at all an image. I remember my dad joking about that when I was small. I always wanted the orchs to win in the lord of the rings, and that Voldemort was much cooler than Harry Potter. I think it’s quite simple psychology really. That it’s just more interesting. If I had a history of real darkness. Like growing up in war or torture. I think I would be very interested in happy stuff. But now I am not. You are attracted to what you are not from, where you don’t think you belong. But where I am is where I belong the best. I am privileged where I do not belong any more. I think everyone wants to find a world where they don’t naturally belong. For me that has been music. No one in my family had anything to do with music. No one has been a rapper. I have always felt at home in front on a microphone. Mats: When you found the darkness in Florida and managed to get out of it, was it mission completed? Lean: I don’t know if it was mission completed really. Barron died so I would want to take back a lot of what happened there. I think I had the darkness within me before that. It is inside of you.
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