Remains in North Carolina storage unit identified as Turtle Mountain Chippewa woman missing for 15 years

Local News

Melissa Poitra, in 2000. (Image: Poitra GoFundMe page)

Human remains found in North Carolina have recently been identified as those of a Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa member, Melissa “Missy” Ann Poitra.

According to Native News Online, Poitra had been missing since 2005 and was apparently living with her boyfriend in the Durham, North Carolina area at the time of her disappearance.

A GoFundMe page set up by Poitra’s family states the remains were found in a plastic tote in a storage unit in Durham in October 2016 and were believed to have been there for a decade or more.

Native News Online reports Poitra’s family pressed the Durham Police Department to do a DNA test to see if the results would match family members. Authorities did just that, testing against a DNA sample from Poitra’s father.

At the end of April, Durham Police said the results showed the remains were, in fact, those of Melissa Ann Poitra.

According to writer Darren Thompson, who penned the Native News Online story, Poitra family members say Durham Police have called the death suspicious, possibly a homicide.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help Poitra’s daughter, Brittani Hetland, travel to Durham to retrieve her mother’s remains for burial on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation. 

So far, the effort has raised over $7,000.

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