Thursday, September 17, 2009

“Whoever has her, please don't hurt her; that little girl is my world." Missing women.

October will be Women's History month. While the official theme is "women and sports," aboriginal women, and NGO's like Amnesty International will be raising awareness about missing and murdered aboriginal women during the first week. Some 520 aboriginal women have been murdered or have gone missing in Canada since 1970. More than half of the cases have occurred since 2000. More than two-thirds of the total number of women have been found dead, while 25 per cent are still missing. Here are three cases I have been following. Several opposition MP's and aboriginal groups have called for a national inquiry asking why cases remain unsolved and why aboriginal women are targeted. It's a good time to put some pressure on government to have a full inquiry.

Hillary Bonnell’s Mom: “Whoever has her, please don't hurt her; that little girl is my world."

16 year old Hillary Bonnell spent part of the summer in the Mi’kmaw community of Burnt Church, in New Brunswick. On September 5th 2009 she attended a late night party in the community. A friend gave Hilary a lift to a main highway, the well-travelled Route 11, about two kilometres from her aunt's house where she planned to spend the night. It was around 3 am, as she walked down the highway to her aunt’s when Bonnell telephoned her mother, Pam Fillier, who was in nearby Miramichi, reminding her they were to go shopping for new school clothes the next day. Hilary never made it to her aunt's house. Surveillance video taken from 4D's convenience store on the corner of Micmac Road and the well-travelled Route 11 showed the missing girl was there at about 7:30 a.m. Saturday and appeared to be alone. The last known communication with Hilary took place later Saturday morning when she sent a text message to her cousin, which indicated she was scared and wanted to “get away” but did not say where she was. Since that message was sent, Hilary’s cellphone has either been disconnected or drained of batteries, since all attempts to reach her have been unsuccessful. She had no purse, makeup, change of clothes, or cash
Hilary is aboriginal, has dark eyes and black, shoulder-length hair. She is 5-5 and weighs about 134 pounds. She was last seen wearing a purple T-shirt, a black sweater, jean shorts and sandals. Her community is offering a $15,000 reward to anyone with information that leads to her discovery.

Claudette's family: :"She is a mother of 4 beautiful children who need her to tuck them in at night and tell them she loves them. Claudette is a good mother and they need her home."

21-year old Claudette 'Penny Tyo.' Osbourne, mother of four, disappeared 14 days after giving birth to her baby girl. Shortly before she disappeared, Claudette called her boyfriend and indicated to us that she was hemorrhaging. She has been missing since July 24, 2008 and was last seen near Selkirk Avenue and Charles Street in Winnipeg. Osborne is 5'7", 145 lbs, and was wearing black pin striped pants, black v-necked t-shirt with a ruffled collar. There is a $20,000 reward for information leading to her discovery. If you have any information please call: Police Missing Persons Unit at 986-6250 Crimestoppers at 786-8477 Manitoba Search and Rescue: George Leonard 777-0553

Maisy's Grandmother: "Not knowing if she's alive or dead, that's the hardest thing"

(Kitigan Zibi, Quebec) Maisy Odjick’s treasures, her flute, her camera and treasured
photos are still where she left them at the home of her grandparents, where she usually stayed. There is still a pillow on the arm of the brown fold-out couch where Maisy slept, and her clothes are still in the white cupboard in the corner. Her family got a cake for her last birthday and put gifts under the tree for her at Christmas in case she came home. Maisy Odjick was last seen with her friend Shannon Alexander, who is also missing on Sept. 6, 2008. At the time, Odjick was 16 and Alexander was 17. Shannon’s father Bryan said he has been waiting by the phone for months, hoping someone who knows the girls' whereabouts will call. The two girls were heading to a dance, on a Saturday night, and planned a sleepover at Bryan’s home. Bryan had left for the weekend to help his Son paint his home. When her returned he found the doors to his house locked, while inside, the girls had left their purses, their wallets, their identification, their backpacks — even Shannon's medication. But the girls themselves where nowhere to be found.

There is a 13,000 reward for information leading to the discovery of the girls.
Maisy Odjick, now 17, is six-feet tall, 125 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes. Maisy has two piercings on her bottom lip and one in her nose. Shannon Alexander, now 18, is five feet nine inches, 145 pounds and also has brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information should contact the Kitigan Zibi Police at 819-449-6000.


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