MISSING AND MURDERED: The Case of Britney Tiger Part 1

Collaborator: Brittany Harlow
Published: 10/29/2018, 8:06 PM
Edited: 07/28/2022, 8:31 PM

(ADA, Okla.) “I'll continue to go to them to bring awareness because I believe it's important that people know what's going on. Because they're just being overlooked.”

There has been a nationwide surge the last couple years to increase awareness of missing and murdered Native Americans in the United States. But is it a problem in Oklahoma? 

VNN dug into census data, crime statistics and reports… and found the answer to be yes. Native Americans do in fact go missing and murdered at rates higher than the rest of the country, and when compared to other races. 

Native American females in Oklahoma go missing at a rate more than 7 times the national average- and those are just the ones being reported. Some experts say that number is much higher. As for murder, we found both black people and Native Americans were murdered in Oklahoma at a higher rate per capita than white people. 

Despite these facts, missing and murdered white people most often see the most media coverage. 

Oklahoma’s Native Alliance Against Violence is one of the organizations seeking to change that. Their “Missing and Murdered” webpage highlights more than two dozen Native Americans that have disappeared or been killed in Oklahoma. 

Some of the several unsolved homicide victims were initially reported as missing, such as the case of Britney Michele Tiger, 26, of Ada. 

Tiger went missing Ada on February 11, 2018. Her husband William Gomez told police it wasn’t unusual for her to leave home for weeks at a time. Her mother, Bernadine Bear Heels, told VNN that’s not true. 

“I think she wanted to leave him,” Bear Heels said. “And he didn't let her. That's what I think.” 

Bear Heels said Tiger told her she was leaving her husband the day before she went missing. 

“February 12 a little after midnight she messaged back and told me that her phone was broke and that she would message me on Messenger,” Bear Heels said. “She never did.”

A missing person’s report was filed a week later. The police went to talk to Gomez. 

According to the police report, Gomez told officers he didn’t report Tiger missing because he didn’t think any detectives would be there at night time. 

Officers said Gomez also told them Tiger took their only cell phone, but a cell phone rang in his pocket moments after. After repeated requests, officers said Gomez gave the number of the cell phone in his pocket to police. 

Two possible sightings of Tiger were reported. One at the Ada Walmart on or about February 18. The other at a restaurant in Midwest City on February 24.

A month later, a woman’s body was discovered by a rancher south of Kullihoma, a Chickasaw tribal reserve 15 miles from where Tiger lived. The medical examiner’s office identified the remains as Tiger’s. 

Neither Tiger nor Gomez had a car. Bear Heels said Tiger had never been out in that area before. 

We got our hands on Tiger’s autopsy report, which details information that hasn’t been reported to the public until now. 

“When they found her her arms were up, like they drug her,” Bear Heels said. “And it looked like she didn't have a shirt on, because her shirt was all the way up here.”

The report said Tiger’s bra was pulled up over her chest, in front of her sweater. 

Bear Heels said she and other family members went out to the property where Tiger’s body was recovered, and the rancher led them to the spot. 

“He told us what it was like,” she said. “What she looked like.”

Bear Heels told us a trail of Tiger’s hair had been left behind, leading up to where she was found, well off of the road and hidden in a field. 

“I knew it was her hair because I picked it up and it’s the color of her hair,” Bear Heels said. “She had like a reddish tint in her hair. And so I knew.” 

Officials said her body had been out there for a while, and was in a state of decomposition. 

The autopsy report says there was meth in Tiger’s system. The cause and manner of death were both recorded as “unknown”. 

Tiger had no criminal record. 

Her mom said she struggled with drugs for at least a few years, but was trying to get clean. She said that Tiger even had her husband inject her with meth; despite the fact that she worried he would accidently kill her. 

“Britney wanted my other daughter to watch him,” Bear Heels said. “Because she was scared that he was going to overdose her. When he shot her up. So my other daughter watched it.”

She described Gomez as controlling, saying he was 'always there'. 

“She didn't go anywhere without him because he was always stuck to her,” Bear Heels said.

We stopped by Gomez’s last known address, but it appears he no longer lives there. 

Bear Heels said she has not been able to get in touch with Gomez for months. 

Tiger had three children, the oldest just eight years old. 

“I think of her every single day,” Bear Heels said. “All day long. And I just don't understand what kind of person. What did she do so bad for you to want to kill her, you know? And how are they feeling now? Do they feel any kind of remorse? Was it worth it? That's what I want to know.” 

She told VNN the Ada Police recently told her they are still actively investigating Tiger’s death, but when we reached out to them for an update they told us the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is handling the case. 

When we reached out to the OSBI, they informed us that Ada Police was the lead agency. 

So, who is investigating the death of Britney Tiger?


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