It’s been two years since Khadijah Britton, a 23-year-old Native woman was abducted at gunpoint from her home in Round Valley.
Khadijah is still missing, her family is heartbroken, and the Round Valley community has been ravaged with grief and with the underlying tension of an unsolved horrific kidnapping, which happened in front of several witnesses.
On Saturday, family and friends hosted a day-long event in Covelo at the Rec Center, where hundreds of Round Valley community members turned out to dance, sing and pray for Khadijah’s return.
The full-day event featured a silent auction to raise money to print more “missing” banners, to pay for the cost of the more than 5,000, red and yellow bracelets already distributed, which read: “Justice 4 Khadijah.”
MarTan Martinez offered the Opening Prayer and information about the Red Road.
Elizabeth RedFeather, a tribal member from the Round Valley Indian Reservation danced with the Round Valley Feather Dancers.
The All Voices Choir Project of Sacramento performed songs throughout the day, including the song “Say Her Name,” which has become a mantra for Khadijah’s family and friends to keep her spirit, and the unsolved case at the forefront of the community.
The group Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women turned out to support to the all-day event to bring awareness to the national crisis of violence against Native women, which affect four out five Native women.
Last year alone, nearly 5,600 Native American women were reported missing, according to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, a number 10 times higher than for non-Native women.
For Khadijah Britton’s grandfather Ronnie Hostler and her cousin Kelda Britton, this crisis hit home when Khadijah was abducted two years ago in Covelo.
So far, there hasn’t been a crack in the case. Khadijah’s friends and family in the close-knit community of Covelo, say they are fighting back against a climate of fear and intimation and they won’t stop until they know what happened to Khadijah.
An anonymous donor provided money for an $85,000 reward, and the Mendocino County sheriff’s department set up an anonymous tip line through We Tip at 1-800-732-7463.
Mendocino County’s new Sheriff Matthew Kendall, who grew up in Covelo with Khadijah’s parents, and is friends with her Grandfather Ronnie Hostler, addressed the community gathering Saturday.
Kendall reported since taking the helm at the Sheriff’s office, he’s put another “man on the investigation,” and is currently working with federal partners to crack the case.
He said his office is committed to solving the case “come hell or high-water,” and looking at all the evidence collected with “new eyes.” That includes re-interviewing some key witnesses, who Kendall said are just now beginning to “tell some truth,” after two initial phases of giving incorrect information.
The day-long community event ended with a candlelight vigil, as a recording of country western singer Tracy Lee Nelson’s song “Khadijah” played in her honor.