Vigil for Maisy and Shannon ten years to the day they disappeared from Maniwaki
A vigil took place Thursday evening just outside Maniwaki to remember two teenage girls who disappeared ten years ago this very day.16 year old Maisy Odjick and 17 year old Shannon Alexander vanished without a trace leaving all their belongings behind.Maisy's mother Laurie organized this vigil to help the community remember the girls and to keep the hope alive and also to encourage anyone with information to come forward.
Ten years is a lifetime for the families of Maisy and Shannon; a never ending nightmare with no answers as to what happened on this day a decade ago. But the hope is still alive and so too is the police investigation. Their beautiful faces still greet you as you approach Kitigan Zibi. But sadly the large billboard along Highway 105 is no welcome sign; instead it is a decade old reminder of the tragic disappearance of Maisy Odjick and Shannon Alexander; a day burned in the memories of those who live here.
“It definitely affects the community,” says Gloria Decontie, a resident of Kitigan Zibi, “and you can just feel it everywhere.”
For Maisy's mother Laurie, the tears are never far from the surface, bubbling over whenever her thoughts go to the girls.
“Yes, this day is hard on me,” she says, outside the Sureté du Québec command post on the reserve where she meets today with investigators from Montreal, “but when I think of the girls, I just go through it. I’m doing this for them.”
It was September 6, 2008. 16-year-old Maisy and 17-year-old Shannon were best of friends; heading out to nearby Maniwaki to go dancing. They never returned home.
“They need someone to come forward and help,” says Laurie Odjick, “because two girls don't go missing without someone seeing something.”
Today, police were back in the area to attend tonight's vigil that Odjick has organized but also to prompt anyone with any information to come forward.
“Yes it's been ten years but we know things change,” says Sergeant Marc Tessier with the Sureté du Québec, “People may have had information at that time but they weren't comfortable or at ease and didn't want at that time to give us information.”
The investigators with the SQ are all with the homicide unit out of Montreal. They're not sure if the girls were murdered but they're certainly treating it as that.
“We’re assuming it’s part of a homicide or part of a suspicious disappearance,” says Tessier, “We have definitely ruled out that they left voluntarily.”
Police are working with the families to push information out, plastering posters all around town again and encouraging people to call the Missing Children’s Network at 1-888-692-4673 or the SQ at 1-800-659-4264 if they can help.
For now, sadly, they are still no closer to answering that one burning question: where are Maisy and Shannon?
“It's all about hope,” says Laurie Odjick, “If you don't have hope, then you don't have anything.”
Hope is a powerful thing; it's kept the families going throughout these difficult years. But right now, more than anything, they need the help of someone who knows what happened.