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Tashka Qualls
Tashka Qualls with his daughters. Courtesy photo
Klamath Tribes in ‘deep mourning’ over loss of two teenage sisters
Wednesday, July 3, 2024

The Klamath Tribes are seeking justice following the deaths of two young sisters in what authorities are calling a double homicide.

In a news release, the tribe said 19-year-old Aleeka Qualls and 14-year-old Zion Qualls were murdered on June 29 in the city of Klamath Falls in Oregon. The sisters are the daughters of tribal citizen Tashka Qualls.

“They are victims of senseless violence, and we need to keep the attention on them,” Qualls said in a post on social media on Tuesday. “This has been a difficult time for everyone in the community and my family.”

I would like to thank everyone for the prayers, kind words and donations. The amount of love I have received is…

Posted by Tashka Qualls on Monday, July 1, 2024

The suspect in the deaths is Elijah Albert Qinkade Croy, 20. He was arrested on June 29, according to authorities in Klamath County, where he is facing two counts of murder in the first degree, one count of attempted murder in the first degree and three counts of unlawful use of a weapon.

“The Klamath Tribes has continued to experience an unprecedented amount of violent crime, and many of these crimes do not appear to be properly investigated, prosecuted, and addressed,” the tribal council said in the release on Wednesday. “This most recent murder must be immediately and fully investigated, holding any and all criminals accountable for their crimes.”

Tribal leaders connected the deaths of Aleeka and Zion to the ongoing crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Six of the 10 members of the council are women, including three of the four executive level positions.

“This happens too often,” said Secretary Roberta Frost, one of the executives.

“I want to see supreme justice for these two Indigenous sisters,” added Treasurer Brandi Hatcher, another executive.

In his social media post, Qualls announced plans to host a candlelight vigil this Sunday. He said he expects to announce a date and time later in the week.

Fundraisers have been set up by friends and family members, including one established by the sister of the victims’ mother, who has been identified as Crystal Davis in the tribe’s news release.

Grief counseling has been provided by Tayas Yawks, a grassroots group with a connection to the tragedy. The local organization was founded by the great-grandparents of Aleeka and Zion, the tribe said.

The organization itself noted in a social media post that Leslie Anderson, a council member at large, is grandfather to the sisters.

“We have a responsibility moving forward,” Anderson said in the tribe’s release. “Under new tribal leadership, we are advocating for justice for all of our tribal community who fall victim to violence and senseless crimes.”

Yayas Yawks is offering counseling at its location in Klamath Falls in collaboration with Klamath Basin Behavioral Health, a non-profit service provider.