NANAIMO — “As a community, we should all get together and raise awareness for all our missing women and girls.”
Cyndy Hall stood in the Nanaimo RCMP detachment parking lot on Saturday, June 30, which is the 16th anniversary of Lisa Marie Young's disappearance after a night out with friends. Every year, community members, friends and relatives gather to keep their memories of Young vibrant and hopefully remind others to be careful and wary.
Young was last seen around 3 a.m. with a man driving an older model red Jaguar. She was last heard from at 4:30 a.m. that morning. The owner of the car was identified by police but not arrested.
“It's such an epidemic and it can literally happen to anyone,” Hall said. “We as girls shouldn't have to worry about going for food, walking down the street. We have to be alert, when we go out in public we have to watch our drinks. It's ridiculous that it all comes down to us.”
Hall wore a sign describing all the small facets of life which continually remind her of Young, everything from a Red Hot Chili Peppers song to a specific brand of chips Young always enjoyed.
“The one which stands out the most to me is the flip phone,” she said. “That makes me realize how Lisa never got to experience something like a smart phone. Her life stopped in that moment.”
Sixteen years later, the memorial re-opens fresh wounds for everyone.
“I remember what I was doing that morning and it makes me emotional,” Hall said. “The panic that families feel when they first discover a loved one is missing, they live in that. They're living that same feeling every day and it's been 16 years.”
It's also been more than a year since the body of 16-year-old Makayla Chang was recovered and her case was considered a homicide.
RCMP Cst. Gary O'Brien said both files are active investigations and won't be considered closed.
Hall said she believes RCMP when they say their continuing to work on the cases of missing women in Nanaimo.
“I realize police are really investigating it. But as the public, we feel frustrated because we're not hearing anything. So for us, it's a stand still.”
The awareness event at the RCMP detachment was followed by a vigil and remembrance ceremony at Maffeo Sutton Park.
On Twitter: @spencer_sterrit
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