Streaming Show Explores Wyoming’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Epidemic
TV host Nancy Grace interviews two Wind River Indian Reservation families who lost children, seek answers
- Published In: Other News & Features
- Last Updated: Nov 04, 2023
"Shattered Hearts of the Reservation: A Nancy Grace Investigation," currently streaming on Fox Nation, spotlights Wyoming residents Greg Day and Nicole Wagon as they attempt to get justice for their loved ones. (Screenshots from “Shattered Hearts of the Reservation: A Nancy Grace Investigation,” courtesy of Fox Nation)
By Jennifer Kocher
Special to the Wyoming Truth
Nicole Wagon and Greg Day still have questions about their children’s deaths. Neither is satisfied with law enforcement’s investigations. Neither believes justice was served.
Now, the grieving parents are sharing their stories on “Shattered Hearts of the Reservation: A Nancy Grace Investigation,” now streaming on Fox Nation, a subscription service through Fox News.
Wagon, a member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, lost two daughters within a year of one another. In 2019, her eldest daughter, Jocelyn Watt and her partner Rudy Perez, were shot to death in the couple’s Riverton apartment.
Less than a year later, Wagon’s 23-year-old daughter, Jade Wagon, disappeared on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Her body was later found face-down in a snowy pasture; her death was determined by the coroner to be the result of hypothermia and drugs were found in her system.
But Wagon doesn’t buy that. She is convinced Jade was murdered.
Four men between the ages of 14 and 24 were ultimately arrested in 2021 and tried for the murders of Watt and Perez, which is only a small relief to Wagon.
Day, a member of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, also has lost two children. His daughter, Dawn Day, 28, was found floating face down in Morton Lake in Fremont County in 2012. Her death was deemed undetermined, and no arrests have been made.
Four years later, Day’s son, Jeff, also 28, was found floating face down in the Wind River with toxic levels of diphenhydramine, an ingredient in cold medicine, in his system. His death was classified as an accident, according to a deputy report provided by the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office.
But Day also doesn’t buy this reasoning. He, too, believes that both of his children were murdered.
‘Lost in the shuffle’
“Shattered Hearts of the Reservation” highlights these stories as part of a larger epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women and men throughout Wyoming and the U.S. Grace declined to be interviewed but said through an assistant that the episode focuses on the epidemic plaguing Native Americans in “a desperate search for justice and answers.”
Though Indigenous people comprise only 3% of Wyoming’s population, they account for 14% of missing persons and 21% of homicide victims, according to a 2021 report by the Wyoming Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Task Force.
The same report found that 105 Indigenous people, including 34 women and 71 men, were victims of homicide between 2000 and 2020. This accounted for 21% of the total homicide victims in the state during this same time period.
Cara Chambers, director of the Division of Victim Services for the Wyoming Attorney General and chair of the state’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Taskforce, told the Wyoming Truth she appreciates the attention Grace’s episode is bringing to the problem in Wyoming.
“I do think that us being such a small state, small population, that a lot of times we get overlooked on the national stage, but we do have one of the larger landmass reservations in the nation,” said Chambers, who is featured in the episode.
She also noted the MMIP problem is difficult for many people to understand, much less tackle.
“I think the concept of someone just going missing and disappearing is really hard to wrap your head around, as is the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous people in general,” she said. “But, having worked some 20 some odd years in victim services, I know that it’s not uncommon. Domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking happen every day—and it’s dangerous.”
Day also is grateful Grace is spotlighting MMIP cases, particularly those of his children.
“I feel pretty good about this,” he said. “I appreciate that Nancy Grace took the time to share stories of our missing and murdered loved ones. We’re the ones who are getting lost in the shuffle.”
Day hopes “Shattered Hearts of the Reservation” will help highlight what he sees as injustices in how MMIP cases are investigated, while raising awareness about the plight of Indigenous people.