It was a warm fall day when I stumbled across a boring story to most, but there was so little information or interest that it was perfect for my "Sherlock Holmes" like deductive curiosity. The Peterborough, Ontario Police were saying in their statement to the press that a resident of Curve Lake Indian Reserve was missing. They said she was a 32 year old palliative care nurse named Julie Runningbear who worked mostly in Peterborough. The police spokesperson showed everyone the most recent picture of her and that was all they told us. She was an Indian woman, so who cared about who she knew or associated with or who she loved or who loved her. In Canada there was a thin layer of neglectful small "r" racism towards native peoples; especially women. I heard it all before about how they take millions from "US TAXPAYERS" while the rest of us have to work for a living. They are all drunks and hookers. Who cares about what happens to them?!
That's not what I thought and when I first saw that picture I instantly fell in love with her. She seemed so young and beautiful to me. There was a sadness in those soft, sultry, brown eyes which should never be in eyes of somebody so young. She had been missing for a few days by the time the police notified the community at large and they had few if any leads. She just had to be alive somewhere. Maybe she took a holiday and forgot to tell people. I did a silent prayer to myself and silently hoped that she would not be found dead on some pig farm like all those victims of Pickton the pig farmer serial killer out west who killed mostly native women prostitutes and other vulnerable women. Missing women in the area seemed like a good start and I could easily use police statistics to write a quick general story for the Peterborough Examiner about missing women of our region.
When I saw the most recent list of missing women I was shocked how many Native women were on the list. It was a real eye opener and shocked me. How could ANY GOVERNMENT let so many women go missing and apparently do NOTHING?! One of the women on the list turned out to be the half-sister of the current missing woman. I did a little more digging and found out that the half-sister was 18 years old named Marie. Julie and Marie were very close despite the 14 year age difference. Marie was almost like a daughter to Julie. That explained the sadness I saw in the picture of Julie that the police used. Marie had been missing for 2 years now and the case was very cold. It was a dead file without any officer on the case until a new concrete lead turned up.
I knew the police would be tracking Julie's last movements to find her. I knew better. When two people are that close if one goes missing there's nothing which would stop the other from finding where they disappeared to or tracking them down. If Julie was tracking the last movements of Marie, where were her notes or the proof of my theory? Julie lived with her father who was a semi-retired truck driver, so he was often not home. By my second try, he was finally home. I called and made arrangements to meet at his home later that day.
When I approached the front door, my foot got stuck in a loose board on the front porch of the house. I moved the board a bit and saw a large freezer bag with a lined school notebook. I knocked on the door and ask the girl's father about the notebook I found. We opened it up and instantly I knew it had to be the notebook of Julie's investigation of her sisters' disappearance. Her father could not bear to look at it, shoved it towards me, told me to take it and go.
"Find her if you can and return it to me when you find her or give up looking," He said to me as I was leaving.
When I finally got supper going, ate and did the dishes it was 10 pm with a light storm brewing outside. The Journal started:
I am starting this journal for you the reader to find me and my now presumed dead sister. I have an incurable form of cancer which will be getting progressively more painful with time. I have decided that a shot of morphine should give me a dignified peaceful end instead of a painful unaware end in a sterile hospital. By the time you find this I shall be dead near the co-ordinates below.
Our father never approved of Marie's drug dealer former boyfriend Jason. I was not too happy about the relationship, but glad she confided in me and now I know where he hung out. I asked around and knew people who knew where they both used to travel around. Mostly they would just hop on highway 115 travelling south to visit friends in Orono or more often on the edge of Bowmanville. They would do some drugs, get drunk, and order pizza. I didn't want to hear about it, but some friends told me that they even had a few drunken orgies.
One friend told me of one place near Precious Corners where there was a few farm roads and an old road which cut behind a farm and wrecking yard where some teens often went to make out and have sex. It was far enough away from the farm house and wrecking yard that nobody could see them. And, close enough to the main road you could walk to Dale Road.
I spent most of the past week in Bowmanville asking around where my sister and her friends hung out. Bowmanville seems to be getting built up too much and people are taking on that city attitude of looking the other way at kids doing drugs and especially as one "citizen" spat at me, "who cares about one more drunken Indian girl!" I care and I hope that if you are reading my journal that YOU CARE. She must NEVER BE FORGOTTEN. I loved her like a daughter.
Tears stained the page.
Today on this wonderful autumn day I am heading down Dale Road to that, sometimes, make-out spot to search for evidence my sister was there. I decided that searching close to twilight would be best since if somebody did kill my sister and lived nearby they might see me. I can only risk two or three attempts or I could be caught or possibly murdered. It is always dangerous for any single young woman to be travelling dark country roads alone; I'll not stay long.
I cannot believe it! I was just about to end my day's search when I found my sister's locket with a picture of me and her mother in it. It was in a ditch on the side of the make-out road covered in leaves and mud. Last night's storm must have washed away some mud. The setting sun glinted off the gold heart-shaped locket. SHE NEVER took this off! She must have been here. Off to the 401 and then 115 to the Peterborough Lakefield Police. They just have to look into this lead and investigate.
DAMN! FUCK'n Asshole cops! Damned do-nothing pigs!
The police said, "We cannot go out there on a wild goose chase just because you found a locket she could have lost months or years before she disappeared. You EVEN admitted that her friends told you she has been known to go there more than once. There are 4 farms and a half dozen businesses in that area. WHICH property do you wish us to get a search warrant for? No judge is going to issue search warrants for that many properties without some substantial evidence like a dead body or two or more. They are especially not going issue a warrant to search for some runaway drunken INDIAN SLUT! Until you have something more to go on there's nothing we can do for you. Our hands are tied on this one. If you bring back some REAL evidence, MAYBE we will look into it. Goodbye."
.... There is more of this story ...