VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Sylvia, Sarah's friend
Hi, my name is Sylvia. I am a 30 year old single mother of one. I was the last person to see Sarah alive. I say that because my heart says that's the truth. I felt that when I turned the corner after driving around the block and saw her corner empty.
We had agreed to meet back at the same spot. I knew I would not see her again. The next day I went back downtown to speak with her boyfriend and the guy I was seeing. No one had seen her. I checked back again and again. Nothing. My question. No one has questioned me. I've spoke with a few officers on the street but no real attempts to talk were made. Hey we really should get together - like we were discussing the stock market or something. Is this how I'll be treated should I be the next victim.
Five years ago I would have been front-page news. A manhunt would have been organized, a reward without question. You see 5 years ago I was one of you. A hard working mother of one in a long term common-law relationship. I have one year of College, Business Administration. My last job paid me over $4000 a month. Our income bracket was 75,000 to 80,000 per year. I owned show dogs imported from Germany and my son was 3 years developmentally delayed and has had a lot of medical issues over the years and I was a "ROCK." I worked hard and I was happy. In one day I crumbled. In 2 years I lost it all.
I know now why "they" don't just get a job, go home, go
to detox etc.
I dreamed and I also achieved those dreams.
Why when I fell down didn't you help me up, I asked? Why did you leave me there for so long as it got worse?
I don't blame anyone else but myself for my addiction. But as for my self worth, I know that I am worth nothing at all because of my--"what is that politically correct description?"--oh yes, "Disease" that I have and to feed it I have to work the street.
I am worthless because of that. I know this because my friends keep disappearing and no one even looks for them. I know this because I was there when Sarah was taken and no-one asks me about it.
If I were the mother of one and I was standing on a corner going to work and I had disappeared, would you look for me, ask about me?
Well guess what? I'm still a mother of one going to work. I have one more thing to say and it's 1999 so I have a voice you can hear and know this. "Heroin addicts don't just disappear." They NEED and I say NEED the heroin to function. From what I know and understand these girls used heroin and they wouldn't go to far.
Second point is a quote: Police took "unusual step" of holding a press conference to warn DES Women that a man considered a sexual sadist has been released from prison. Reported, offender assaulting working women one of his crimes.
Not one of my co-workers knew nor mentioned this information. These people look at us everyday but they don't see us. Most of us are homeless or live in hotels that are somewhat lacking almost everything including the usual TV's. The only people informed were people that didn't really need to know. Heck dates were talking about some angry guy and I thought it was to do with the Serial Killer, not a known offender, an obvious threat.
Look at me. I would love to go home. But I'm to afraid of losing my pet--my monkey--my king kong. It hurts so bad--I go mad.
Someone please, at least make it safe to stand all alone in that dark lonely place.
My life is ugly enough and I want to believe that I matter again. That I'm worth something and maybe you can help me believe in me again.
Sarah, I miss you--you called me your friend and in 18 months you're still the only one.
Sylvia wrote this for the May 12, 1999 memorial for Sarah and the other missing women. She was not able to attend. I met Sylvia after Sarah disappeared when we were putting up posters on the eastside. She was the last known person to see her. This information was forwarded to Det. Const. Lori Shenher the lead investigator on the case.
Updated: August 21, 2016