Juneau mother says daughter was nearly abducted at hotel during Native Youth Conference in Minnesota
JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - It was a frightening incident for a young Juneau girl whose mother believes she narrowly escaped being kidnapped last week at a Native Youth Conference in Minnesota.
Jadelyn Endicott, 15, was one of 47 youth from Southeast Alaska attending the United National Indian Tribal Youth Conference in Minneapolis.
Jadelyn’s mother Marcie Kookesh said that Jadelyn was at the hotel where the group was staying when she ran into a woman carrying grocery bags who asked for help getting the bags to her room. Jadelyn picked up the bags and brought them to the woman’s door.
“By this time this lady was opening the door and she asked my daughter to take the bags into her room and my daughter said no,” Kookesh said. “The lady then told her she had drugs in her room that she can give to her or share with her, and my daughter again said no, and told her that she’s only 15 and that she’s a minor. At this point, the lady got very upset and put her hands on my daughter and started yelling at her in her face.”
Jadelyn said the woman seemed drunk as she started screaming at her, then put her arms around Jadelyn and tried to drag her into the room.
“By the time she had her arms wrapped around me I realized that she’s gotten really aggressive with it,” Jadelyn said. “And then she was trying to walk away with me, so I just pushed her off. And the whole time I made sure to keep my foot by the door to keep it open.”
Marcie Kookesh wonders about what criminal charges will follow. Police have told her the woman could only be charged with assault instead of attempted kidnapping because the door to her room was never closed.
“She still tried to drag my daughter into her room without consent,” Kookesh said. “What does the door not being closed have to do with anything? There’s just so many questions I have.”
Jamiann S’eiltin, a chaperone whose son was also on the trip, believes someone was deliberately targeting young Native women at the conference.
“I believe that there was a group of people who were scouting our students and were at the hotel and this was one of the incidences where they were trying to abduct Jadelyn and put her into human trafficking,” she said.
S’eiltin is an advocate for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Juneau. She said it’s important to get the word out about what happened to Jadelyn so that people realize that Native women have high rates of abduction and murder, and often the crimes go unsolved.
“Missing murdered Indigenous peoples is real, and so is human trafficking,” she said.
Marcie Kookesh admits she may never know exactly what the women’s motives were, but she does know one thing.
“We are thankful, we are so thankful that she did what she did and got away,” Kookesh said. “Because she could have been one of those people who went missing.”
Editor’s note: The headline of this article has been updated to provide clarity as to where the abduction attempt occurred.
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