Navajo Nation family warns of efforts to capitalize on girl's death

A tribute to Ashlynne Mike. Photo by Warpaint Arts / Facebook

A Navajo Nation family has received an outpouring of support following the tragic death of 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike on the New Mexico portion of the reservation.

But Ashlynne's relatives are warning that some people are collecting money in her name without their approval. They have no idea where the funds are going.

“It’s sad that through this time of tragedy there’s people out there that want to make money off of this. That’s what we are finding out,” relative Shawn Mike said at a San Juan Chapter House meeting on Tuesday, The Farmington Daily-Times reported. Chapter residents voted to support efforts to stop unauthorized fundraisers.

Family members are asking anyone who wishes to hold a fundraiser to contact them at Any donations can be sent directly to the “Ashlynn Mike Memorial Benefit Fund" at Wells Fargo Bank.

Gary Mike, Ashylnne's father, said the Albuquerque Police Department contacted him about a fundraiser it held on Tuesday. The money is being sent directly to the benefit fund.

“That is something that should be communicated with anyone that’s working with raising funds or benefits for Ashlynne Mike,” Mike said at the chapter meeting, The Daily-Times reported.

Ashlynne was laid to rest on Friday. Thousands of people attended a funeral service in Farmington.

"None of us has words that can express the sadness and anger we feel at the senseless act of violence that took her from her family and community and deprived her of a bright future. But as brothers, sisters, parents and children, we hold her in our hearts and wish her family peace and healing as they mourn," Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) said in a statement.

A 27-year-old tribal member, Tom Begaye, has been charged with kidnapping and murder in connection with the crime. He was arrested a day after Ashlynne went missing and is being held in Albuquerque.

Get the Story:
Chapter backs effort to protect Ashlynne's name (The Farmington Daily-Times 5/11)
Family: Some trying to profit off Ashlynne Mike's death (KOB 5/10)
Meeting will address Ashlynne Mike fundraisers (The Farmington Daily-Times 5/10)
Local heroes raising money for family of Ashlynne Mike (KOAT 5/10)
Fundraisers held around the state for Ashlynne Mike’s family (The Albuquerque Journal 5/9)
Zia Pueblo performers dedicate dance to slain Navajo girl (The Rio Rancho Observer 5/9)

Related Stories
Large crowd gathers to say goodbye to slain 11-year-old Navajo girl (5/6)
Leader of Navajo Nation Council criticizes coverage of girl's death (5/5)
Navajo Nation reeling after arrest made in 11-year-old girl's death (5/4)