OTTAWA — Laurie
Odjick says the hardest part of dealing with a missing child is “the
“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.”
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
believe my daughter’s rights were violated because she didn’t have a proper
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.”
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.
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
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.
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.
forces combined the files, and now jointly hold both.
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
however, the case has been absolutely cold.
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
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
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.