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The search for Maisy and Shannon

'I feel like I’m fighting this on my own,’ mother says

BY BRENDAN KENNEDY, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN  MARCH 9, 2009

OTTAWA — Laurie Odjick says the hardest part of dealing with a missing child is “the not-knowing.”

“I need to know — and I may never know,” she said. “There are a lot of women out there who have never been found ... I don’t want my daughter to become another statistic.”

Laurie’s daughter, Maisy, and her close friend, Shannon Alexander, both 17, were last seen on Sept. 6 in Maniwaki, Que., about 140 kilometres north of Ottawa, when Shannon’s father left them at his home on Koko Street, which borders the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, the reserve where Maisy lives.

With six months now passed since the teens went missing, and little or no progress made toward finding them, Odjick says she feels totally alone.

“I’ve never felt so alone, and I feel like I’m fighting this on my own,” she said.

But mingling with Odjick’s despair is simmering anger and frustration with what she considers a sluggish and complacent response by the two police departments investigating her daughter’s disappearance.

“I honestly believe my daughter’s rights were violated because she didn’t have a proper investigation

at all,” she said, adding that she believes police treated the girls as runaways from the start and only put a half-hearted effort into finding them.

Sûreté du Québec Const. Steve Lalande said parents have a right to be frustrated, but police are taking the case seriously.

“There are no files that are unimportant to the SQ,” he said. “Rest assured, the SQ is putting every effort into recovering the two youths.”

Kitigan Zibi Police Chief Gordon McGregor said it’s natural for family members to be frustrated with police in a case such as this, where there is little progress.

“I can understand the families’ frustrations — we share the same frustrations,” he said. “But we’re not getting any information that’s really conclusive.”

The Kitigan Zibi Police department and the Sûreté du Québec are jointly investigating the case because Maisy lived on-reserve and Shannon lived off.

Despite keeping all options technically open, the Sûreté du Québec now says they have evidence to suggest the teens ran away.

“We always keep the possibility that something could have happened but, right now, we have reason to believe that these people left wilfully,” said Lalande. “We have no indications of foul play.”

This is the first time the Sûreté du Québec has said they believe the girls ran away, but Lalande could not confirm if there had been any change in the case.

He declined to provide the evidence that was leading police in this direction, saying it would interfere with an ongoing investigation.

The Kitigan Zibi police, however, said they have no such evidence.

Odjick, a radio broadcaster and mother of four, says she has no idea what evidence the Sûreté du Québec is speaking of.

“If they left voluntarily, why didn’t they take their stuff?” Odjick said. “(Maisy) even had a little bit of cash in her wallet. Why wouldn’t she take it? … It’s hard to believe and I don’t believe it.”

There was no sign of forced entry or robbery at the home on the day the teens went missing, but all of their belongings, including their clothes, wallets and IDs, were left behind.

Maisy’s and Shannon’s parents have accused the The Kitigan Zibi police of being unprepared and slow to act, and the Sûreté du Québec of using jurisdictional obstacles as an excuse for what the parents call an ineffective investigation.

The first extensive ground search for Maisy and Shannon was organized by the Odjick family, and did not take place until December, after several heavy snowfalls had blanketed the area.

Though the two police forces have been collaborating since the girls went missing, the The Kitigan Zibi police initially only had Maisy’s file and the Sûreté du Québec was responsible for Shannon’s, despite the fact the teens went missing together and are believed to still be together.

Recently, the forces combined the files, and now jointly hold both.

Lalande said working with other police departments can slow the investigation process.

“The more players you have, it doesn’t go as easy as it should,” he said, but would not elaborate.

In the fall, there were several reported sightings of the girls in Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston and Port Elgin, near Lake Huron, where Maisy once lived. Most were proven false, but the Sûreté du Québec now says sightings in Ottawa and Kingston have been confirmed.

Since Christmas, however, the case has been absolutely cold.

Odjick is reluctant to raise the issue of race, but she said she does wonder whether the girls’ disappearance would have garnered more attention if they were not aboriginal.

She cited the widespread media coverage and massive, police-led searches for Brandon Crisp, the 15-year-old Barrie boy who ran away on Oct. 13 and was found dead three weeks later.

“I’m not happy for the outcome, of course,” she said. “But I’m envious of the attention.”

A $10,000 reward — made up of donations from friends and supportive organizations — is being offered by the families for any information that leads to Maisy’s and Shannon’s safe return.

Missing friends

- Shannon Alexander is five-foot-nine, 145 pounds, with brown eyes and dark brown hair. She has acne and pierced ears, often wears a silver necklace with a feather on it, and has a scar on her left knee.

- Maisy Odjick is six feet tall, 125 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. She has two piercings in her bottom lip and one in her left nostril, and scars on top of her right eyebrow and left forearm.

Shannon and Maisy are believed to be together. If you have any information about their whereabouts, call the Sûreté du Québec at 819-310-4141 or the Kitigan Zibi Police Department at 819-449-6000. There is a $10,000 reward for information that leads to their safe return.

For more information, visit www.findmaisyandshannon.com

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

Bones found near Maniwaki from animal 

Discovery raised fears as two girls remain missing 

BY BRENDAN KENNEDY, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN

MAY 13, 2009  

The bones found near Maniwaki on Saturday -- raising suspicions they might be part of the remains of two teenage girls missing from the area for more than eight months -- were determined by a Montreal lab to have come from an animal.

The bones were found beside Highway 107, near Highway 117, in Grand-Remous, and reported to the Sureté du Québec, which sent them to be analysed.

Maisy Odjick, 17, and Shannon Alexander, 18, were last seen in the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation-Maniwaki area on Sept. 5. Their families have been frustrated by a lack of clues as to their whereabouts.

The files are being jointly investigated by the Kitigan Zibi Police Department and the Sûreté, because Maisy comes from the reserve and Shannon's home is off it.

Their families have offered a $10,000 reward.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sûreté du Québec at 819-310-4141 or the Kitigan Zibi Police Department at 819-449-6000.

Maisy Odjick is six feet tall, 125 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair.

She has two piercings in her bottom lip and one in her left nostril, and scars on top of her right eyebrow and left forearm.

Shannon Alexander is five-foot-nine, 145 pounds, with brown eyes and dark brown hair. She has acne and pierced ears, often wears a silver necklace with a feather on it, and has a scar on her left knee.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

For more information, visit www.findmaisyandshannon.com

 

Email: wleng#missingpeople.net 

Missing Women Tip Line: 1-877-687-3377

Updated: August 21, 2016