Who was Jalajhia Finklea? Missing pregnant Native American teen found dead, suspect fatally shot by US Marshals
Finklea was abducted by 37-year-old Luis Barboza, who was killed in a shootout with the US Marshals in a McDonald's parking lot in Florida
A pregnant Native American teenager, who was reported missing nearly five weeks ago in Boston, was found dead in a field in Florida on Wednesday, November 25. Jalajhia Finklea's body was found three weeks after the man suspected of abducting her was shot dead by the US Marshals in a standoff. The teen disappeared from her home in Boston on October 20, the night before her 18th birthday.
Finklea reportedly was last seen leaving the house for a visit to the doctor on the morning of October 20 for the first part of a two-part surgery, authorities revealed. The teen was five months pregnant at the time of her disappearance. Tribal police, in a statement, had said that Finklea was abducted by 37-year-old Luis Barboza, who was shot dead earlier this month on November 6. He was reportedly killed in a shootout with the US Marshals in a McDonald's parking lot in Florida.
Police, in a statement on Wednesday, announced that they found Finklea's body in a field off of Route 95 in Fellsmere, Florida. It is not clear in what condition was her body discovered in and what was the cause of death. Details of why Tribal police suspected Barboza has not yet been revealed either.
Finklea, who was a proud member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, had posted on social media about being a dancer and performer. The teen had also previously appeared on multiple promotional flyers for a secret "pool party" at an undisclosed location with "hotels" nearby. It is also not yet clear who the father of her baby was.
The teen's mother said that she had increasingly become worried about her daughter when she received no contact from her. In a GoFundMe page, she had stated: "It’s not like my daughter to not call or keep in contact with any of our family. She has no social media presence or phone activity since she’s been missing. Luis is armed & dangerous I’m asking for donations to help pay towards the investigation to bring my baby home. Any amount is greatly appreciated, my family thanks you all for the continued prayers." The GoFundMe fundraiser, which raised over $11,500, was launched by Amanda Costa on behalf of Tia Costa.
An update from Amanda on November 12 on the page had stated: "As some of you guys may know Luis Barboza has been shot & killed by the U.S. Marshals at a McDonald’s in FL & Our family still has no answers on Jalajhia‘s whereabouts. As of now, the money raised will be going towards the search, rescue & recovery for Jalajhia. Our family appreciates every kind of donation & prayers. We ask for continued prayers for Jalajhia’s safe return home."
The tribe had also offered a reward amount for any information that could lead the teen to be brought back home safely. Tribal Council Chairman Cedric Cromwell, in a flyer about her disappearance, said: "Sadly, the growing number of missing indigenous women across the country do not receive the attention that our caucasian neighbors receive. The numbers are staggering. Our women are abducted at a rate 10 times higher than other ethnicities. 'We have to work harder to bring attention to Jalajhia and we do need your help. It’s hurtful and it’s painful. I pray to God that she is safe, and it’s a matter of time before we can bring her home."