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NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is seeking assistance to locate an 18-year-old tribal woman who has been missing since Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020.

Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell paused during a live streamed interview with Native News Online on Tuesday night before answering a question to relay an important message about a situation currently confronting his tribe. The woman, Jalahjia Finklea, went missing the day before her 18th birthday.

“My tribe is going through a challenging and heartfelt situation where we have a young lady who has been missing for quite a few days now,” Cromwell said.

Finklea stands at 5-foot-3 and weighs approximately 100 pounds. She has brown hair with some blond streaks, hazel eyes and has a triangle scar on her left cheek. She also has some tattoos on her shoulder blades and part of her torso.

Cromwell went on to say local law enforcement has been involved in locating her, but the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has not even contacted his tribe to assist in the investigation to locate the missing woman. Typically, when individuals are listed as missing within a federally recognized tribe, the FBI assets in the investigation.

“Jalahjia Finklea has gone missing without any contact and this is a tragedy and a major concern of hurt and pain in the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Community. Our tribal members have been searching for her in the woods, placing fliers throughout the community of Mashpee and the city of New Bedford, Mass.,” Cromwell said. “We need the assistance from the FBI to help us find our beloved Jalahjia and bring her home safely. There is the Indigenous murdered and missing women federal law that must be upheld by the Bureau.”

Finklea was last seen on Tuesday, Oct. 20, in the area of New Bedford, Mass. She reportedly went missing after she texted a friend that she was meeting a man who may have taken her out of state, according to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s website

Her family said she would never run away from home and it was highly unusual for her not to respond to phone calls or text messages.

The Mashpee Wampanoag Police Department is working closely with the New Bedford Police Department to find her.

If you have any information, please contact the New Bedford Police Department at 508-991-6360.

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