Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Details of Disappearance
Tina Finley was last seen on the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation in Benewah County, Idaho on March 7, 1988 by her uncle, who dropped her off at the Plummer Housing Authority. Finley played pool at a Plummer bar, then went to a Tensed birthday party. Investigators think that’s where she met the people responsible for her disappearance. Finley left the party, and went to Tensed’s Circle H Saloon. A man there later told police he gave her a ride to Plummer, dropping her off about a quarter-mile from home. The man passed a polygraph test. But Finley never made it home.
Shortly after Finley’s disappearance, her purse, identification card, and shoes were found sitting on the side of U.S. Highway 95, which bisects the reservation. Investigators searched an abandoned car and house at DeSmet, finding several of Finley’s belongings, and a business letter addressed to one of the suspects. A search of a Plummer home that fall found Finley’s jacket. Investigators questioned two suspects who both failed the polygraph test. The several suspects, some of whom are ex-convicts, have histories of violence.
At first her family were not concerned, as she sometimes left the area for up to a week. However, she did not take any personal belongings with her this time. Finley, a fastidious dresser, wouldn’t have left behind her expensive clothes, her ID, or her welfare check. She was reported as missing on March 23, 1988.
In 1991, divers searched for Finley’s body in a small pond on a back road. In 1992, a road worker found a grave-shaped pit at McCroskey State Park. Investigators think it was intended for Finley’s body, but that the grave-diggers were disturbed, or decided it was too close to a road. They think Finley was abducted and killed somewhere near Tensed. Foul play is suspected.
Born in 1962, the child of a Coeur d’Alene Indian mother and a Flathead Indian father, Finley was raised on the Coeur d’Alene reservation. Their parents’ drinking eventually split up the family. The seven children grew up in foster homes.
At 14, Finley ran away from her foster home. She hitchhiked to Seattle, and eventually to California. At 17, she phoned her uncle, tribal elder Felix Aripa, who bought her a bus ticket home from San Jose.
Finley moved in with her uncle, and learned to cook and clean. She held several jobs, and considered following her sister’s example by enrolling at North Idaho College.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
FBI Salt Lake City
The Charley Project
The Spokesman-Review - Apr 12, 1988