Record snow and cold kills Kiowa Tribal Member


The record-breaking snowstorm that hit Oklahoma last week has taken the life of a member of the Kiowa Tribe. 

After days of family members’ searching, Truman ‘TL’ Leon Baker, 51, was found by his brother Robert ‘Whitey’ Baker Sunday evening in his abandoned pickup truck behind his home 10 miles southwest of Anadarko on Ware Road, according to a Kiowa Tribe press release.

Baker is the second Oklahoman to have died due to circumstances tied to the storm, according to records of the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner.

Family members said in the release that it was not unlike Baker to stay at other places to escape the freezing temperatures, but when the extreme weather conditions worsened they began looking for Baker. 

Baker’s sister Bambi Allen said they began searching days ago, and found the truck behind the house covered in snow, according to the tribal statement. Allen said that Baker has a health condition that causes delirious moments, which could explain why he was in the truck despite the house being stocked with firewood and food.

The representatives from the state medical examiner and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) were on hand to process the scene. It does not appear to be suspicious, just a tragic event. Due to strict COVID-19 protocol, the body will be taken to the medical examiner. According to the release, there is no word yet from the BIA on how long Baker had been deceased.

“We are saddened that this happened to one of our tribal members or to anyone,” said Kiowa Tribal chairman Matthew Komalty. “We prayed over our people and others that this type of situation would not happen. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family.”

The Bakers’ family is making funeral arrangements with the Comanche Nation Funeral Home in Lawton, Oklahoma. 

Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.