Reward increased to help locate missing woman

Rita Papakee

MESKWAKI SETTLEMENT — A reward has been increased from $50,000 to $75,000 for information leading to the whereabouts of Rita Janelle Papakee.

The Meskwaki Tribal Council increased the reward on Wednesday.

“We are troubled that Papakee has not been located but we have faith that someone will do the right thing and report where she is,” said Meskwaki National Police Department Chief Jacob Molitor. “We appreciate the support of the tribal council in our continued investigation and for raising the reward amount to assist in locating her. Rita’s family and community deserve to have her home.”

Molitor said Papakee was last seen Jan. 16, 2015, leaving the Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel. His department has kept it as an ongoing investigation. Officers have conducted interviews inside and outside the immediate area, posted missing person fliers, hosted volunteer search parties and asked other agencies for assistance.

Numerous tips have been received regarding Papakee’s location, including some that have led authorities to spots containing what might have been some of her belongings.

Molitor believes some people have information and that his department is one tip away from locating Papakee.

“This disappearance has, without a doubt, caused a toll and burden on the minds and lives of Papakee’s family and the community as a whole,” he said. “All we can ask for is that the community keeps the conversation about her alive and provides any and all tips so that we can discover the truth. If you know anything that could help in the investigation, please speak up.”

Tips can be made by calling the Meskwaki Nation Police Department at 641-484-4844 or by texting the anonymous tip line at 641-481-6002.