Family grieves for the loss of their son

James Box with his children, Kyia and Kayden.
Left to Right: Regina Box (James’ mother), James Box Sr., holding James.
courtesy Box Family
courtesy Box Family

James Box Jr. lost his life at the hands of another 

For Eddie and Betty Box, the tragic loss of their son, James Box Jr., has been a three-year ordeal, deeply impacting them, their immediate family, and the Southern Ute community where James Box was raised. The family has faced the immense pain and anger that came with the loss of their son, while also focusing on their spiritual needs, and the personal reflection necessary for them to heal.  

Southern Ute tribal member, James Lloyd Box Jr., also known to his family as Buffalo Horse, was killed in 2018 near Dolores, Colo. He was 42 years old at the time his life was taken.  

According to the Durango Herald, James was fatally shot by Kevin Wade Folsom, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in July of 2018, and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. 

According to court records, on the night of Jan. 2, 2018, Folsom, Box and Box’s wife drove to Hay Camp Mesa east of Dolores and partied in an area off Indian Ridge Road; the shooting took place that night.  

“This has been a trying thing for us as a family,” said Betty Box. “We’re his mom and dad, we are trying to hold things together. We were brought up not to have hate; that’s how we were brought up traditionally.” 

Eddie Box Jr., and his wife Betty, took James in at an early age. “The family on both sides were all in unison that Eddie and Betty would bring up James, and raise him,” explained the Box’s. 

James is the father of Kayden and Kyia Box, now 21 and 19, respectively. “They were close to their daddy,” said Betty. “He was close to all of us, he was close to his grandpa,” Eddie said, referring to the late Eddie Box Sr., well known by his Indian name — Red Ute. “We brought him up, taught him a lot of things. My dad cared for him and taught him Ute culture; Bear Dance songs and Sundance songs.”  

“As James grew up, he became closer to his sisters, brothers,” Betty said. “He was a smart student. He was well mannered, respectful.”  

Eddie and Betty’s eldest son, Edward Box III, spoke emotionally about the loss of his younger sibling. 

“We fought as kids. I only got to see him after many years [had passed] and the thing that gets me now, is I can’t say that I’m sorry. That has been taken from us, from me — all I know is that he is not there.”  

“It’s traumatizing when someone is taken out of your life,” he said, “It takes time to heal from it; we can’t create any more memories together. Now I offer tobacco to him. I can’t say, ‘sorry, brother.’ He taught me a lesson — that life is valuable, and that life is important. Our spirits can forgive each other.” 

The Box family is a traditional family, guided by their strong cultural values. Eddie Box Jr. is a Southern Ute elder. Betty J. Box is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation and of Spanish descent. The Box’s are involved in traditional ways such as Sundance, Bear Dance and Sweat ceremonials.   

In February of 2018, following the death if their son, the family asked to be escorted to the remote section of Hay Camp Mesa where James was killed to observe the necessary cultural practices. “We had a ceremony with family at the site,” Eddie explained. “We took care of that … the spiritual aspects.” 

“We miss the image of our son; how he sang the songs in Sweat,” reflected Eddie Box Jr. “We miss him taking part in the Sweat ceremony. It’s not quite healed. That part is still missing.”  

James fell into troubled times later in life, often surrounding himself with bad company, straining his relationships with family. “It hit us pretty hard,” Eddie said. “Our love for him overtook everything, over the difficulties.”  

“He wanted to change his lifestyle,” Betty said. “He wanted to get back home, to get sober. He knew it was time.” 

“He’s on another journey now,” Betty said. “We will keep his memory alive.”  

Lisa Manzanares, with Southern Ute Victim Services, has aided the Box family as a liaison between the courts and the family throughout this difficult time. “Lisa was the main person to guide us, and help us through this process,” explained Betty. “I’m glad we have Victim Services. I encourage others to use them.” 

The Box’s know they cannot bring their son back, that they can’t change the course of what happened three years ago, or the events that lead to it; but they truly hope that someone will read these words and be able to help those closest to them, those in need of love and guidance. To see where strength and compassion is most needed, but not always sought out.  

“If he could speak,” said Eddie “I think he would say, ‘Man, I messed up. I’m sorry it happened. I didn’t realize it would end like this.’”  

“Maybe we can make other people aware of what is happening in this world,” Eddie said.  


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