Ella Mae Begay

Begay, circa 2021; Silver 2005 Ford F-150 pickup truck; Preston Tolth

  • Missing Since 06/15/2021
  • Missing From Tolikan, Arizona
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race Native American
  • Date of Birth 07/21/1958 (65)
  • Age 62 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'0 - 5'1, 110 - 120 pounds
  • Associated Vehicle(s) Silver 2005 Ford F-150 pickup truck with the Arizona license plate number AFE7101
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Native American female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Begay is of Navajo descent. She wears eyeglasses. Her ears are double-pierced.

Details of Disappearance

Begay was last seen at her home in Tolikan, Arizona on June 15, 2021. She lived alone in a rural area ten miles off the highway, and one of her daughters lived about fifty yards away.

This area was one of the most remote communities on the Navajo Nation. Begay had recently installed solar panels on her house and this was her only source of electricity. She was noted in the community as an accomplished weaver of traditional Navajo rugs.

Begay's truck was seen pulling away from her home about 2:30 a.m. She described as a cautious person and it's uncharacteristic of her to leave home in the middle of the night. She has never been heard from again, and the door to her home was discovered to have been kicked open. Her daughter reported her missing at 10:55 a.m. that same day.

Her silver 2005 Ford F-150 pickup truck with the Arizona license plate number AFE7101 disappeared with her and has not been found; a photo of a similar vehicle is posted with this case summary.

Investigators believe Begay was the victim of foul play, and her case is being investigated as a homicide. A person of interest, Preston Henry Tolth, was arrested on June 17 on unrelated charges of battery to a family member, and was questioned about Begay's disappearance after his arrest.

A photo of Tolth is posted with this case summary. In April 2023, he was charged with assault resulting in serious bodily injury and carjacking resulting in serious bodily injury in Begay's case. The charges allege that Tolth stole Begay's pickup and took it across state lines with the intent to cause death or serious injury to her.

Tolth is awaiting trial. If convicted, he could face ten to twenty-five years in prison on each charge. Begay has not been located, but foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.

Investigating Agency

  • Navajo Nation Police Department - Shiprock District 505-368-1350

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated April 10, 2023; details of disappearance updated.