Family and friends gathered under a picnic area in Moxee Park on Saturday and shared memories of Esmeralda “Kit” Mora, 17, an Indigenous teenager who is missing in Omak.
“No matter what it was, Kit loved art and loved to draw,” said Charlotte Groo, Kit’s sister and organizer of the weekend vigil.
Kit’s skills can be seen in a collection of detailed animal and fantasy creature drawings posted to the missing teenager’s Facebook page.
Groo described Kit as artistic, creative, upbeat, and calm, “but Kit said things when they needed to be said.”
Esmeralda “Kit” Mora
Kit, who is non-binary and Indigenous, is missing from Omak but lived in the Yakima area for years and attended schools in the East Valley before moving to Omak.
Friends Amythist McCarty and Kayla Shelton met Kit, who uses the pronoun they, at school in Yakima.
“They were my first friends when I moved to Yakima in fourth grade,” Shelton said at the vigil.
“They were my first friends too,” McCarty chimed in, adding that the friends never argued. “That’s because they’re so cute.”
Friends and family also described Kit as a strong student who helps others with their homework and gets good grades.
“They liked (the school) and they were good at it too,” McCarty said.
After Kit moved in with Omak, friends kept in touch by texting and sometimes talking on the phone for hours.
“It’s surreal,” McCarty said. “It doesn’t feel like they’re a missing person, it feels like they’re going to pick up the phone and call me at any moment.”
Kit was added to the State Patrol’s most recent list of active cases of missing Indigenous peoples and has been missing since April 15, according to the list, but the family says Kit has not been seen since November 2021.
Around the time Kit was last seen was also when they finished school in Omak, which the family says was unusual for Kit.
Charlie Groo, Kit’s grandfather, recently said that Kit was happy at school and would even become an assistant art teacher. Not knowing where Kit is gnaws at him, he said.
“I just hope, wherever[they are]Kit is doing well,” he said.
Kit’s family in Yakima are hoping for information on Kit’s whereabouts. A missing persons flyer issued by the Washington State Patrol lists the Omak Police Department, 509-826-0383, as the contact for anyone with information.
The family also set up a GoFundMe account for travel expenses to and from the Omak area, flyers, private investigators, and any other expenses that might arise to get Kit home.