Khadijah Britton was last seen on the evening of February 7, 2018, reportedly being forced into her ex-boyfriend’s car at gunpoint. She has not been heard from or seen since. The pressing question now isn’t just “What happened to Khadijah?” It’s also “Where is she?” This Khadijah Britton wiki looks at the young woman’s life and the circumstances surrounding her disappearance.
Round Valley Reservation
Statistically speaking, Khadijah Britton started life at a socio-economic disadvantage. Britton lived in Covelo, a small community of around 1,200 within the Round Valley Reservation in the northwest corner of California.
Roughly 17% of the population is Native American, direct descendants of the six tribes that were ushered into Round Valley by white settlers in 1863.
More than 41% of Covelo residents live below the poverty line, and in 2013, the last time statistics were collected, the Round Valley Indian Tribes’ unemployment rate was 86%. At the time, California’s unemployment rate was just under nine percent.
For years now, Mendocino County has had a big problem with drug and alcohol abuse. The drugs of choice are methamphetamine and heroin. The rise in drug abuse echoes the rise in domestic violence.
According to statistics released by the National Institute of Justice in 2016, Native American and Alaska Native women are 1.6 times more likely to experience physical abuse by an intimate partner than their white peers. In fact, 84% of the estimated 2.6 million Native American women will experience physical violence. More than half will live through sexual violence.
This is the environment that Khadijah Britton lived in.
Drug and alcohol abuse, constant unemployment, incarceration, and a lack of access to community resources are all traits that many abusers share, including Negie Fallis IV, Khadijah Britton’s ex-boyfriend and the only suspect in her disappearance.
Who Is Khadijah Britton?
Khadijah Rose Britton was a proud tribal member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes. And her future looked extremely bright.
Her parents Jerry Britton Jr. and Connie Hostler certainly thought so.
The 5’9” teenager excelled in high school. She was the star of the girls’ basketball team, having been taught how to play by her mother and father while in elementary school. In Britton’s senior year of high school, she averaged an astounding 18 points per game and helped lead the team to a first-place finish in the North Central III league, where she was named co-MVP of the all-league team.
Britton was just as competitive, confident, and popular off court. She was known for her sense of humor, cracking jokes in class and playfully teasing classmates. It’s only fitting that in her junior year of high school, Britton was voted “Class Flirt.”
Britton was also known for being fiercely loyal and protective. If she saw a fight take place, she’d step in to defend friends.
In 2012, the bright and vivacious teen graduated from Round Valley High School with a GPA of 3.17. Britton had said that she wanted to pursue a sports-related career, like kinesiology. Her family hoped she would enroll in community college and take classes offered at the high school through Mendocino College.
Things didn’t go as planned. At least not for Khadijah Britton. Some of her friends left for college. Those who stayed behind either started to party harder or got pregnant. For Britton, it was a time to party.
She started to use drugs on a regular basis, mostly with friends of Negie Fallis: a much older crowd of people that her close friends did not associate with.
Kayla Bettega, a friend who had known Britton since preschool, said, “There were a lot of my classmates that could’ve went far and done a lot of things, but it’s just hard to get out of Covelo.”
Khadijah Starts Dating Negie
No one is really sure exactly when Britton began having a relationship with Fallis. But the honeymoon period was short-lived. If it ever existed at all.
As soon as they started seeing each other, it became her job to take care of his four children—especially the youngest.
In addition to being their de facto mother, Britton would do the housework and laundry, cook, put the kids to bed, and pick them up from school. Not surprisingly, the more time Britton spent with Fallis, the lower her confidence and self-esteem got.
“I could see that he changed her, yeah,” Bettega said. “She was still her same, happy self, but she was scared to get growled at if she did something wrong because he was so possessive.”
Possessive, angry…Fallis had a number of shortcomings.
In 2012, two years before he met Britton, Fallis was convicted of possession of a controlled substance, endangering the health of a child, possession of drug paraphernalia, and carrying a switchblade longer than two inches. He also had a history of abusing his partners.
Negie Fallis was sentenced to six years in state prison but was released early in 2014. He made his way to Mendocino County, which is where he met Khadijah Britton.
Prison, it seems, accomplished nothing when it came to rehabilitation. Fallis was as possessive, insecure, violent, and irrational as ever.
In late 2017, just as winter was descending on Round Valley, Kayla Bettega’s father and brother were driving around when they saw Britton walking along a road. They stopped to offer her a ride. She refused. Or had to. Fallis would get mad if she accepted a ride, she said.
Throughout the winter, Britton’s relationship with Fallis continued to disintegrate. While visiting her mom, Britton would say she was tired of him, that Fallis was disrespecting her.
When asked if Fallis was abusing her, the young woman would say no.
“I’d say, ‘Would he hit you?’ And she’d say, ‘No, Mommy, it’s nothing like that, Mommy,’” said her mom, Connie Hostler. “But I’ve been getting worried that he’d been doing stuff like that to her. I did try to get her over to a shelter in Redding, and she said, ‘Why are you trying to get rid of me, Mommy?’ I said, ‘I’m not, baby. I’m trying to keep you alive.’ She didn’t see that.”
January 29, 2018 – Khadijah Britton Assaulted by Negie Fallis IV
On this day, like many times before, Britton and Fallis had a fight. She left and was picked up by her friend Felix, who took her to his grandmother’s house. It didn’t take long for the 37-year-old Fallis to track down where 23-year-old Britton had gone.
He appeared at Felix’s grandmother’s house, screaming for his girlfriend to get out of the house. When Britton appeared in the doorway, witnesses say he pulled her by the hair and yelled at her, telling her she was a whore.
Fallis yanked the terrified Britton to the ground and dragged her toward a white Mustang. It was there that he punched her in the face and kicked her in the chest. He then struck Britton in the head with a hammer.
He told the bloodied Britton to get in the car, and that if she didn’t, or if she tried to escape, he’d kill her. She obeyed. The pair continued to fight in the car. But Fallis’ rage was also focused on Felix.
After her boyfriend got out of the car to confront Felix, Britton fled, hiding behind a tree stump in a neighboring field. She came out only after a furious Fallis drove away.
At around 1:00 a.m., on January 30, Khadijah Britton made her way over to where her father, Jerry Britton Jr., stepmother, Andrea Oliver, and their children lived. They answered the door to find Khadijah bloodied and bruised.
“She was just screaming, ‘He’s trying to kill me, he’s trying to kill me,’” Oliver said. “And she goes, ‘Get the babies on the floor, he’s going to shoot up the house.’”
Oliver called the police, and Khadijah gave them a statement.
The following day, Jerry took his daughter to the tribe’s domestic violence center. A counselor took pictures of the bruising on her face and body and bumps on her head. Khadijah and her counselor drafted a restraining order against Fallis.
To ensure Khadijah Britton wouldn’t have to go back to Fallis’ place, she was given new clothes, money for groceries, and a cell phone. Somehow, though, Fallis managed to either get at Britton or threaten her.
When her counselor came to get Britton on February 5, 2018 to take her to Ukiah for a hearing, the young woman pretended to be asleep. Britton never did manage to make it to court.
It was soon discovered that in the days following the hammer attack, Britton had been in contact with Fallis, exchanging text messages on her new cell phone.
February 7, 2018 – Khadijah Britton Goes Missing
On February 7, less than 10 days after the attack, Khadijah Britton went to the tribal police office and told them she didn’t wish to proceed with the charges against Negie Fallis.
When she left the police station, she is alleged to have said, “I did it, girls. I did it. I dropped the charges” to Fallis’ current girlfriend, Antonia Bautista-Dalson, 20, her twin sister, and their mother.
Britton’s family believes she was coerced into going to the police and dropping the charges. Fallis had a lengthy criminal history and had a lot to lose if he was charged with assault and kidnapping.
According to Mendocino County court records, Fallis had several domestic violence cases brought against him.
It is thought that Fallis had threatened to harm Britton’s younger brother if she went through with the charges. Knowing the kind of pain and suffering Negie Fallis could inflict, Britton acquiesced.
The witness who claims they heard Britton say she dropped the charges to Antonia Bautista-Dalson said she sounded relieved when she spoke.
That relief only lasted so long.
On February 10, three days after not hearing from Khadijah Britton, her stepmother filed a missing person’s report.
As is often the case with indigenous women, police didn’t suspect foul play or believe there was reason to be concerned. In fact, they said Britton had most likely gone back to Fallis and was hiding out with him; maybe she didn’t want to listen to her family nag her for going back to her ex.
Frustrated and knowing Britton was missing, they asked the police to, at the very least, put out a press release saying she hadn’t been seen in a number of days. They did, saying Khadijah Britton was missing.
Only then did a witness come forward to report what they saw.
What the Witness Saw
According to a witness, on the night of February 7, 2018, Khadijah Britton was with friends at a house on the edge of Covelo when Fallis and Bautista-Dalson showed up in a black Mercedes. He got out of the car and approached the house, allegedly carrying a small Derringer pistol. He demanded that Britton come outside and speak to him.
They started to fight the second she appeared at the door. He chased Britton around the car, hitting her. He then shoved her into the car; the three of them drove off with Bautista-Dalson behind the wheel.
Khadijah Britton has not been seen since.
February 19, 2018 – Negie Fallis Arrested
Twelve days after Britton went missing, members of the tribal police responded to reports that Fallis was hiding out at a residence in the 23000 block of Road 337D in Covelo, California. When tribal officers arrived, they found Fallis outside. He went quietly.
Fallis was transferred to the custody of Mendocino County sheriff’s deputies, who transported him to the Mendocino County Jail.
He was booked for assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, kidnapping, inflicting corporal injury on a person with whom he was having a relationship, first-degree burglary, threats to commit a crime resulting in death or great bodily injury, and attempted murder.
When Negie Fallis was arrested, he was with his current love interest, Antonia Bautista-Dalson. Fallis and his girlfriend were also alleged to have hidden at least two firearms in that residence.
Fallis pleaded not guilty to felony counts of attempted murder, kidnapping, and assault with a deadly weapon. He was held on $400,000 bail.
According to Mendocino County court records, it was at least the fourth time a domestic violence case was brought against Negie Fallis.
National Guard, Helicopter & Six Dogs Searched for Britton
In mid-March, a massive search finally took place with numerous law enforcement agencies conducting a “large-scale search-and-rescue operation” in the Covelo/Round Valley/Dos Rios area. The search included a team of 96 people, a helicopter, drones, and search dogs.
Britton had a cell phone on her when she disappeared, but it was a burner phone, one that was given to her by the domestic violence center, so there was no way to check her location.
Suffice it to say, the search was unsuccessful.
June 2018 – Charges against Fallis Reduced
That same month, Britton’s family received more bad news. Despite intense searches, no sign of Khadijah Britton had been found. On top of that, Negie Fallis wasn’t saying anything.
Eventually, Mendocino County officials were forced to drop charges of felony kidnapping, attempted murder, and domestic violence. Khadijah Britton, the main witness in the alleged January incident, was missing. And without a witness, police had to drop the charges.
Instead, Fallis appeared in court facing a single charge: being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Because of insufficient evidence, Fallis’ bail was lowered to $35,000 from $400,000.
After serving a short period of time in jail, Negis Fallis walked.
The last person seen with Khadijah Britton, and the man everyone suspected of murdering the young woman, was free.
Antonia Bautista-Dalson Pleads Not Guilty to Aiding Fallis
In August 2018, Negis’ girlfriend, Antonia Bautista-Dalson, was arrested for felony suspicion of harboring or concealing a wanted felon. She allegedly helped Fallis hide while police searched for him in connection to the alleged January beating of Britton.
She pleaded not guilty. And, like her boyfriend, Bautista-Dalson was soon back out on the streets.
Odd Events in the Aftermath of Britton’s Disappearance
Local police are not moving as quickly as Khadijah Britton’s family would like, but they have been making progress on some levels. Police took custody of Negie Fallis’ mother’s house and brought in the Department of Justice and the FBI to run forensics. They also searched a couple of other houses of interest. No one knows what evidence, if any, was pulled from the houses in question.
Those on the reserve noted that in the days immediately following Britton’s disappearance, Fallis’ mother was seen at her son’s house, torching things in a burn barrel over a two-day period. When asked by neighbors what she was burning, she replied “dogs” that had died.
Keep in mind that the young woman had not been reported missing yet. If Fallis and his mother were responsible for the disappearance and murder of Khadijah Britton, they had more than enough time to destroy any evidence.
Police finally showed up after people reported that Fallis’ mother was acting strangely. When they arrived, she was spraying the house down with a hose. Why? No one knows. She then took to painting the interior of her house—“remodeling” is what she later told police.
Following up on Every Lead
Hardly content to sit back and wait for police, Britton’s family has followed up on every lead they’ve been given.
In March, Khadijah’s father Jerry and Marcus, one of her brothers, traveled through the deep snow in the Mendocino National Forest. When their SUV got stuck in waist-high snow, they pushed through on foot. The tip was a dead end.
Even still, Jerry stays out most nights past midnight, looking for signs of Khadijah in old barns and chicken coops. He follows deer trails and watches buzzard patterns in the sky, looking for clues.
“If you don’t go, you don’t know,” said Khadijah’s mother, Connie Hostler.
While out searching, Jerry Britton carries a shovel and rifle, “just in case.” He digs up every shallow grave he comes across; so far, he’s only discovered people’s pets wrapped in blankets.
Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Conducts Another Search
In September 2018, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and search-and-rescue volunteers conducted another search for Khadijah Britton. That, too, failed to turn up any new leads. County police have admitted, though, that they now believe Britton is dead.
The search and rescue is now a recovery. When they do find Britton’s body, they’ll finally be able to prosecute.
Investigators, who have not been seen in a long time, told the family they’d return once they are provided with a viable lead. Not a tip or feeling, but a viable lead.
Even local resources have gone cold, with news stations and papers saying they won’t pick up the story again. It’s not newsworthy, is what the family has been told.
This had led many to question whether the apathy on behalf of the police and press is because Khadijah Britton is a missing native woman, and not a blonde-haired, white cheerleader from an affluent suburb.
October 9, 2018 – Fallis & Bautista-Dalton Plead No Contest
Fallis and Bautista-Dalson have pleaded no contest to felony charges related to Fallis unlawfully possessing a firearm in October 2018.
Fallis, who has already served time for felony child abuse, faces up to four years in prison.
Bautista-Dalson is eligible for supervised probation with up to one year in county jail or sentencing to a local prison for up to three years.
The pair were released on bail and scheduled to return for sentencing in December 2018—Fallis on December 4 at 9:00 a.m. and Bautista-Dalson on December 11 at 9:00 a.m.
Are Those with Information Afraid to Come Forward?
As of now, the charges against Fallis related to the alleged violent attack against Britton in January have been dropped. They could be brought again, however. No charges have been brought by the DA in relation to Khadijah Britton’s February disappearance, either.
Mike Geniella, spokesman for the DA, noted, “This is part of an ongoing investigation, and we’re not going to discuss specifics.”
The Round Valley Indians Tribes Council issued a statement asking for those with information about the disappearance of Khadijah Britton to come forward, whether it’s to tribal members, law enforcement, or Britton’s family.
“We keep hearing that people know things about what happened to her, but they don’t want to say—they’re scared and intimidated,” said James Russ, tribal president. “Our hope is that we as tribal leaders can lead by example and we are asking people to please come forward.
“There are people that do know what happened to her, or where’s she’s at,” Russ continued. “The first step that we can do is just put it out there, and encourage our community members to please come forward.”
There is a $60,000 reward for information leading to the discovery of Khadijah Britton. If you have information on the disappearance of Khadijah Britton, contact the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Dispatch Center at 707-463-4086 or the Sheriff’s Anonymous Tip Line at 707-234-2100.