Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe leader: ‘Our community is in pain’ over missing teen Jalajhia Finklea

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — There is still no sign of Jalajhia Finklea, the 18-year-old New Bedford woman missing for more than three weeks.

And concern for Jalajhia is growing, especially among the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.

“Our community is really in pain,” Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell told me. “Number one, she is a very special young lady. Number two, she has been missing for quite a while now. There are no leads to where she’s at today. We’re very concerned and worried about her health and well-being and we want her home.”

Jalajhia was last seen on October 20 in New Bedford, getting into a car with Luis Barboza, a family acquaintance 20 years older.

One week ago, US Marshals found him in Florida, but he was shot and killed during a confrontation with the marshals.

Jalajhia was not in his car.

But her cellphone was found on Route 140 north in New Bedford, where it was thrown away half an hour after Jalajhia got into his car.

And that’s where Jalajhia’s family is organizing a search on Saturday.

“We’re a community, and the community sticks together,” Cromwell said. “We’re in this together. Nobody is left alone.”

If you have any information about Jalajhia Finklea, you are urged to contact New Bedford Police, immediately.

Editor’s Note: After our story aired Cedric Cromwell was indicted on bribery and extortion charges in connection with the building of a Taunton casino.

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