Lisa Marie Young’s family and friends gather in Nanaimo on Canada Day long weekend for a vigil in her memory and to raise awareness about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. While a 2014 RCMP report concluded there were 1,181 incidents of missing or murdered aboriginal women between 1980 and 2012, some say the real number could be as high as 4,000. (Photo courtesy of Carol Frank)

Sweet 16 and still missing

The search for Lisa Marie Young continues 16 years after her disappearance.

The pain from losing a family member is weighted, heavy, like a ship anchor. Local Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation member Carol Frank knows all too uncomfortably well what it means to carry that weight.

On Canada Day long weekend of 2002, her 21-year-old niece Lisa Marie Young went out with friends to a Nanaimo bar and was never seen again. Sixteen years later, her disappearance remains a mystery.

“The case will never be closed,” said Frank.

Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP re-iterated.

“This is not collecting dust. It will always be an open investigation,” he said. “We believe that there is somebody out there that has information that can assist with the investigation and we need to hear from them. They can go to any police detachment in Canada or anywhere in the world and talk to a police officer. If they want to remain anonymous, they can call the generic Crime Stoppers line [1-800-222-8477].”

Frank told the Westerly she met with two major crime unit investigators and a senior family support worker on June 18 to discuss Lisa Marie’s file.

“It brought comfort to our family knowing they are still following leads,” she said. “We’d like to finally find her. It would bring peace.”

READ: Tla-o-qui-aht First nation seek answers as search for missing fishermen continues (Westerly News, Jun. 26, 2018)

O’Brien said a substantial amount of tips have come in regarding Lisa Marie’s case.

“Every one of those tips has been investigated and it’s essential that we do so. It’s been 16 years. There has been a lot of investigators. There’s always a fresh set of eyes. We are always looking at ways to move forward with it. That file will never be closed until we find out who is responsible for her disappearance and hold them accountable,” said Cst. O’Brien.

A vigil for Lisa Marie takes place each year in Nanaimo on the day of her disappearance, June 30. Frank journeyed from the West Coast with a few family members for the day.

“We walked from the police station with our signs, went downtown over the bridge, walked by the bar, and then along the waterfront. We walked on the bridge and stood there for half an hour. That bridge was her favourite place to sit,” said Frank.

Cst. O’Brien, who knew Lisa Marie when she was teenager, represented the Nanaimo RCMP at the vigil.

“I remember the call from her good friend the night she went missing. ‘Hey, Gary, I can’t get a hold of Lisa Marie, we’re really, really worried for her.’ And unbeknownst to me, the investigation had already started,” he remembers.

The pain that Frank bares for Lisa Marie is heavier still this summer as her sister and Lisa’s mom, Marlene Joe-Anne Young, passed away a year ago.

“Marlene never gave up,” said Frank. “She always wanted Lisa’s name to be out there and remembered.”

Just Posted

Willie Mitchell hosts second annual Fish for the Future derby in Tofino

“We’re really excited to get year number two under our belt.”

120 West Coast kids rock Bruhwiler Surf Classic in Tofino

“Surfing is a gift of this place.”

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Rain and high winds to hit Vancouver Island this afternoon

Thursday and Friday to see downpour of 20 to 50mm and high winds on Vancouver Island

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

New silver collector coin features Indigenous dancer

New silver collectors coin captures fast-paced energy of an Indigenous powwow

VIDEO: Replica Haida totem pole raised at B.C. park

‘Reconciliation ceremony’ will include SFN leaders, provincial politicians

B.C. woman with autism has scooter stolen from SkyTrain station

Kayla Polege purchased scooter after ‘shutdowns’ on transit

Off Nova Scotia, a bid to ‘unravel the mystery’ of great white sharks

The question: Is Nova Scotia the second mating site for Atlantic white sharks, something scientists say could be key to protecting the endangered species.

Man arrested after carjacking, collision, pepper spray attacks in Vancouver

Vancouver police say one man is in custody after a chaotic scene of events in the downtown core

Canadian investigator says World Anti-Doping Agency got a bad deal from Russia

A Canadian lawyer says the World Anti-Doping Agency rushed into accepting a bad deal by reinstating the country’s drug-testing program.

Fashion Fridays: Rock some animal print

Kim XO, lets you in on the latest fall fashion trends on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Most Read