VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Sparwood woman among 22 missing
Angela Rebecca Jardine
Sparwood woman among 22 missing-By: Maureen Kafer-The Free Press
She could be called a victim of class politics. Twenty-seven year old Angela Rebecca Jardine formerly of Sparwood, is one of the 22 women who have disappeared and are still missing from the seedy downtown eastside of Vancouver since 1995.
Her mother and father Deborah and Ivan, are keeping vigil for their daughter in hopes they can do something to find out what happened to her, but it has been an uphill battle getting help from the police.
"We rely on the police department; their oath is to protect and serve and unfortunately Angela didn't fall under the right social status," says Deborah.
On November 20, 1998 Angela attended a community safety meeting in Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver. It was the last time she was seen. She was wearing a distinctive pink satin dress her case-worker bought for her--one that couldn't have been missed. In fact, Deborah says she's since spoken to a reporter from Equinox magazine who was at the meeting, who can recall the dress. Deborah says if the police would have taken action sooner, there would have been more hope of someone remembering something about where Angela went after that meeting.
Mark Townsend, manager of the Portland Hotel where Angela lived, described her as a girl with lots of character and a challenge.
"She had lots of mental health issues and chronic addictions but ultimately, under all those labels, she was a very beautiful person."
She moved to Vancouver eight years ago and set up in the downtown east side. She turned to prostitution to support her drug habit, but she always called home and stayed in contact with Townsend.
All contact ceased after that meeting and Deborah grew concerned and contacted the police, whom she says never took her seriously, never created a file, didn't issue a missing person's report and didn't investigate during the critical initial period directly following her disappearance.
"If she lived anywhere else, in a middle class neighborhood, there would have been a missing person's report," says Deborah.
She has been heading a diligent vigil, giving interviews, writing letters, hanging posters; she won't let this go until she knows what happened to her daughter.
It was her determination, constantly calling the police, that helped get the ball rolling. It was Deborah who was sending the police information, not the other way around, and it wasn't until the families and friends of the other missing girls united and began putting pressure on the police force that action began.
"I was very concerned because of the way Angela's case was handled," says Deborah who has been described as overly critical by the Vancouver Police Department. According to her she is critical because her daughter's disappearance was totally ignored.
Fund created to help with cost of finding Angela
"That's the most appalling part, that they never did anything."
Townsend says it wasn't until the media became interested in the disappearances that the police acknowledged something was wrong.
"If it was any other four blocks in the City..." he says.
Deborah knows there is something sinister to the disappearances and that they must be linked. The girls were all similar in appearance: dark skinned, medium height, brown haired and of similar heights.
"How can 20-some women disappear from one area? (The disappearances) all have to be linked."
Also, says Deborah, the missing girls aren't transient people, they've set up a community and a social network in that area from which they don't stray.
She says her daughter must have left that area with someone she knew and trusted but she still holds hope that she will return, as does Townsend.
"I have dreams about her walking down the street," he says. "I hope for the best, but I fear the worst."
A memorial ceremony is being held on May 12 at First United Church (East Hastings & Gore) in Vancouver. Although funds are being raised to help the families be there, Deborah and Ivan won't go. Both are unemployed and Deborah is suffering from untreated injuries from an automobile accident.
The community of Sparwood is pulling together and has created a fund for Angela to cover the costs of making posters and mailing them out, as well as for helping cover the costs of trying to find her.
Donations can be given to Pastor Gordon Warriner at the Sparwood Christian Centre. To help with the poster campaign call 425-7787.
For more information on Angela and the other missing women look up www.missingpeople.net on the Web.
Mother won't give up search for daughter, The Free Press - Tuesday, May 11,1999
By Maureen Kafer - Free Press Reporter
"Each night before I would go to sleep I would ask God to send an angel to watch over our daughter to keep her from harm.
We pray she be among the angels that will blanket her with the golden light of healing love and happiness."
Excerpt from a speech written by Deborah Jardine remembering her missing daughter Angela at the memorial being held in Vancouver May 12 at First United Church.
It has been nearly six months since Deborah and Ivan Jardine have heard anything from their daughter, Angela. She went missing in Vancouver's downtown eastside along with at least 21 other women.
The irony is this young woman had finally found her home in one of the most dangerous parts of Vancouver after being driven out of the safety of her rural community. She felt safe but the danger of the area couldn't be ignored and eventually something happened to her; what however, still remains a mystery.
Suffering from mental and emotional handicaps, Angela is described as being boisterous, childlike and a handful. It was because of these differences that she was shunned from her community.
The Jardines moved to Sparwood in the early 80s but Angela never
felt comfortable there.
She remembers how the people treated her daughter.
"People are cruel, they harassed her."
Angela went to school at the skills centre but when her mother became ill, taking care of her was too much and it was decided she should go into foster care in Castlegar. Everything was fine, Deborah remembers, until Angela met up with a social worker who thought she was ready to take on life on her own.
"He did the worst thing possible," says Deborah, explaining Angela was anything but capable of living on her own.
She ended up in Vancouver telling her family she had met a boyfriend who was going to take care of her. Wary of the situation her parents went and got her and met the so-called boyfriend; they weren't impressed.
"She'd be easy prey for those parasites," says Deborah.
So they brought her back to Sparwood but not even a half an hour after being back, neighbours were accusing Angela of mischief and theft. She didn't take kindly to the finger pointing and the harassment.
Social services paid for an apartment for Angela and she made a valiant attempt at living on her own. Then, one day, without explanation, she took off for Vancouver.
"She left with the clothes on her back," Deborah remembers. "She had food on the table, ready to have a snack."
They suspect she got a call from her 'boyfriend' and headed back to Vancouver.
"The guy she hooked up with," Ivan says, "was heavy into drugs."
Thus began Angela's life in Vancouver's downtown eastside, a four block den of iniquity. She became addicted to drugs and had to start pulling tricks to pay for her habit.
Because of her loud disposition, Angela was a very visible person in the area. A man by the name of Jim Green saw her and was concerned about the dangerous things she was resorting to in order to feed her habit. He went to Mark Townsend, manager of the Portland Hotel, a sort of last resort housing project for people like Angela who don't qualify for other programs, and asked if she could be admitted immediately.
"She spent all her 27 years looking for somewhere to fit in..."
Deborah Jardine, mother of missing woman
There Angela had access to nurses and doctors and support people.
"We provide help if they want it," says Townsend.
Living such a high risk life in such a dangerous area, he says it's a wonder someone like Angela could survive. And survive she did, for seven years.
She developed a social network, made friends, everyone knew Angela in that community and accepted her for who she was. It's a glaring irony.
"She spent all her 27 years looking for somewhere to fit in and she finally found it," says Deborah.
But the reality is people like Angela have become targets. Someone has singled out these women in the downtown eastside who have fallen through the cracks, and they are disappearing without a trace. And until their friends and families insisted something be done, their disappearances were ignored by police.
As a united effort, these people are looking for answers and won't let the police turn a blind eye. Already the team investigating the disappearances has been increased from one to three.
Deborah says there have been mistakes made by the police in this investigation and because of their lack of action early on in the disappearances they may never find out what happened to their daughter and the other missing women. But that doesn't mean they are going to stop putting on the pressure.
"I'm going to be relentless and I'm going to find out what happened to my daughter."
AT A GLANCE
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in behalf of Angela Jardine to the Missing Women Memorial Service at any Bank of Montreal account # 27270-8060-059. For more information on the missing women see www.missingpeople.net on the internet.
Updated: August 21, 2016