VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
A petite prankster who lost herself in drugs
By Alison Auld
Heather Bottomley loved to dress up as Jake Blues, the raunchy half of the duo that made the Blues Brothers comedic icons in the early '80s.
The teenager would throw on some sunglasses and belt out tunes made legendary by her favourite movie star at the time, John Belushi. It was a funny sight for friends, who watched the petite prankster swagger about as she took on the persona of the paunchy, slovenly actor.
But it was a perfect match for Bottomley, known to friends as a spirited youngster who loved to laugh.
``She was so funny,'' Danielle Montreuil, a childhood friend who played the part of Elwood Blues, said in an interview with the Globe and Mail in 2002.
``She had the most off-the-wall sense of humour. She was always doing little skits in her backyard.''
The two spent many days together, carrying on in Bottomley's backyard in her suburban neighbourhood of New Westminster, B.C.
Montreuil, who was Bottomley's best friend from elementary through to high school, said the vibrant teen loved sports and seemed to have a happy life at home with a family that was always doing things together.
But that stable life began to falter when Bottomley was in Grade 9 and decided to drop out of school with Montreuil.
The latter returned to school and eventually graduated, but Bottomley stayed away after meeting a boy who introduced her to drugs, according to reports.
Soon after, she got pregnant.
``Out of all of us, she was the last one you would have thought this could happen to,'' Montreuil said four years after seeing her for the last time in a basement apartment in the Downtown Eastside in about 1998.
She was living with a boyfriend and their young child and was pregnant again, a youth herself who was barely able to take care of her own needs.
Her uncle, Terry Bottomley, says the girl with elfin good looks and a glint in her eye had considered getting clean after talking to him.
Her brother was hoping to get help for the young woman and discussed it with their uncle, who thought he might be able to steer her in the right direction.
``She wanted recovery but she wasn't quite sure about it,'' Terry Bottomley said in an interview with The Canadian Press from his home in New Westminster. ``She said she'd get back to me and after that I never heard from her again.''
Weeks went by with no word from the 25-year-old. Bottomley then heard from his nephew that she was missing.
The two began looking for her at local hospitals and treatment centres, but came up with nothing.
The police say she was last seen in April 2001.
``I didn't know my niece too well, but she was a very outgoing, loving person,'' Bottomley said
© 2006 The Canadian Press
Updated: August 21, 2016