Officer Charlie Cortez
29 years old
Commissioned Fish and Wildlife Officer for the Tulalip Tribe in Washington State. The fish and wildlife enforcement is a division of their tribal police department. (This division is a unit dedicated to "game warden" duties on the reservation, and they also work tribal member violations off the reservation, but within their treaty-right hunting and fishing areas. Andy wasn't sure where they are trained, but stated they are certified LEOs. They do not attend the same state academy as WA F&W wardens.)
Cortez was employed by the department for 2 years 8 months as a fish and wildlife officer the entire time and was also and enrolled Tulalip tribal member.
On 11/17/2020 Cortez and a non-commissioned fish and wildlife officer / boat operator were responding to a vessel in distress call between Everett Washington and Tulalip Bay. After clearing the call at approximately 2030 hours, the officers were on their way back to their port when they encountered heavy seas which eventually caused their patrol vessel to capsize. Cortez’s partner was later found alive in the water by a search party and has since made a recovery but Cortez has still not been found.
Cortez is a father to a son named Dominic who is 8 years old (his birthday was on Monday), and a daughter named Peyton and is 5 years old. The children’s mother is Tawnya Stout (divorced from Cortez and re married)
There is still a search being led by the Tulalip tribe for Cortez and no funeral plans have been made at this time.
Behind the Badge Foundation (behindthebadgefoundation.org) is working with members of the Tulalip Police Dept. for possible future funeral arrangements.
There is a local memorial fund set up by the behind the badge team working with the tribe for benefits and donations.
The Tulalip Foundation has also set up the “Charlie Cortez Memorial Fund”
Nicole Sieminski is the contact at 360-716-5401 or firstname.lastname@example.org