Apache Rose Hightower’s body was found earlier this week on a rural road outside Portland. Investigators have ruled her death a homicide.
Apache grew up in Medford. Tamera Johnson first met Apache Hightower when she was 11 years old.
Hightower lived next door to Johnson’s church and was a part of her youth group. Though she hasn’t seen her for a year and a half, Johnson has been there for Hightower through the good and the bad. “Even when she was on the streets, people would go to her. She made bad choices, but she was not a bad person,” Johnson said.
Tamera Johnson spent a lot of time with Apache Rose Hightower when she started attending her youth group in 6th grade.
Hightower was known as a very kind and intelligent person who was constantly giving to others, but her sweet heart also led to her struggles. “She was naturally a nurturer. She loved whole heartedly and she gave her whole heart to everything she did, so that would be inclusive sometimes of bad choices,” Johnson said.
Hightower got involved with the wrong crowd her sophomore year of high school and moved in and out of Johnson’s life.
“When she was on the streets she wasn’t always living directly on the street because she had family here and friends but she was spending time on the streets and so she always seemed to end up back in our paths,” Johnson said.
Johnson helped Hightower in times of need by going to court with her and visiting her in jail. “But that is not the true Apache Hightower… that’s not… you can’t look at that and think that’s all of that person. It’s not,” Johnson said.
The last Johnson heard, Hightower was in Portland raising her daughter and cleaning up her life. “She was doing very well getting out of that lifestyle and had a young daughter and that was her focus,” Johnson said.
Johnson hopes Hightower’s family is able to find closure once investigators can give them answers.
At this point, police are only saying Hightower died of homicidal violence.
They have not named a suspect.
If you have any information about the case, please call the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
A GoFundMe has been set up to support the family of Apache. You can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/apacherose?ssid=746897653&pos=3