FBI Portland
Beth Anne Steele
(503) 460-8099
February 19, 2021

Man Faces Federal Manslaughter Charges in Death on the Umatilla Indian Reservation

Tom Redhawk Tias, age 21, faces federal charges in the death of Thomas James VanPelt, Jr., after an assault on the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

VanPelt, Jr., age 46, died of injuries sustained during an altercation on January 26, 2021. On February 9, 2021, the FBI filed a sealed federal criminal complaint charging Tias with voluntary manslaughter.

Tias was held in tribal custody from shortly after VanPelt, Jr.’s, death until earlier this week. He has now been transferred to federal custody, and he made his initial appearance by phone from Umatilla County with a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Portland.

A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon is prosecuting this case.