Daisy Mae Tallman was born on January 10, 1958 to Eldred Heath and Nancy Whitefoot, members of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of Yakama Nation.
The youngest of six sisters, she was raised by her maternal grandparents, Elias and Lillie Whitefoot, and extended family on a ranch in Medicine Valley, near the foothills of the Cascades. Patsy and Marie, the eldest siblings, helped raise the younger children, and their grandparents were able to provide a stable and nurturing home where they learned about the Indigenous way of life. This included learning how to make traditional crafts.
According to those who knew Daisy, she was a spunky and fearless girl who was a bit on the quiet side. She loved her family and the traditional way of life, and was always willing to offer a helping hand. While in school, she played softball and basketball, both of which she excelled at.
In 1986, Daisy gave birth to a daughter, whom she named after her deceased sister, Sherry. She was excited to become a mother, but was devastated after her baby succumbed to sudden infant death syndrome. These feelings were only made worse by the death of her grandmother that same year.
At the time of her disappearance, the 29-year-old was living with her sisters, Patsy and Beverly, and regularly travelled between White Swan and the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon.
Daisy was last seen in Toppenish, Washington on August 30, 1987. At the time, she was said to be emotionally fragile.
According to her family, Daisy would sometimes drop off the grid for a couple of days or a week at a time, leading them to delay reporting her as missing for two months. She was resourceful and physically strong, and was capable of surviving on her own in the mountains for weeks at a time by hunting, gathering and fishing for food.
After her disappearance, Daisy’s keys, backpack and a turquoise ring were found in Soda Springs, a remote area of the Yakama Reservation, north of White Swan. It’s closed to non-tribal residents, unless they have permission, and is regularly monitored. Her loved ones don’t think she’d have willingly left those belongings behind, as she always had her backpack with her.
According to Daisy’s family, there was a lacklustre response from law enforcement. She was legally declared dead after Marie met with the coroner and submitted all the necessary documentation. Her date of death is set as October 30, 1997.
In late 2008, human remains were found in a remote area of the Yakama Reservation. While law enforcement was initially awaiting mitochondrial DNA test results, an FBI laboratory later determined there was insufficient evidence to conclude the remains belonged to Daisy. They have not released any further information.
Investigators are operating on the belief that Daisy was the victim of a homicide. No suspects have been named in the case.
Beverly passed away after Daisy went missing.
CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:
Daisy Mae Tallman was last seen in Toppenish, Yakima County, Washington on August 30, 1987. She was 29 years old, and what she was last seen wearing in currently unknown. At the time of her disappearance, she stood between 5’3″ and 5’4″, and weighed approximately 140 to 185 pounds. She had long, straight black hair that extended down the middle of her back, brown eyes, and a scar on her left arm and shoulder, the result of being struck by a vehicle as a child.
At the time of her disappearance, she was in the process of legally changing her last name from Tallman, her mother’s married name, to Heath, her father’s surname. As such, many reports refer to her as “Daisy Heath”.
Currently, the case is classified as endangered missing. If alive, she would be 64 years old.
Those with information regarding the case are asked to contact the Yakama Nation Tribal Police at 509-865-2933 or the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office at 509-574-2500.
Image Credit: NamUs