Gathering set for Wednesday to mark one year since girl vanished from Bathurst, N.B.

Bathurst police say 14-year-old Madison Roy Boudreau was last seen around 7:30 a.m., on May 11, 2021. (Bathurst Police)

It will be one year this Wednesday since 14-year-old Madison Roy-Boudreau vanished in Bathurst, N.B., but even though her disappearance has been ruled a homicide, the community keeps searching.

"We haven't given up. There's a group of us that go out constantly looking for her, looking for any clues," family friend Maggie Lavigne said in an interview last week.

"We know what we're looking for, like her missing book bag, what was missing, what she was wearing. We just pray every day that the RCMP actually do find something."

On Wednesday evening, family and friends of the missing girl will gather in a city park to mark the one-year anniversary since her disappearance on May 11, 2021.

At around 7:30 that morning, after leaving for school, she was seen getting into a grey Ford Ranger. In August, the Bathurst police chief said investigators had determined Madison was killed and described the case as an "active homicide investigation."

Lavigne says the past year has been difficult for members of the family and for the community.

"We have our good days, and we have our bad days," she said. "There is a lot of crying when we talk about Madison. There's anger. There are a lot of mixed emotions."

Police have searched a number of locations, but have concentrated mostly on an area near Middle River, southwest of the city.

Initially, the investigation was conducted by Bathurst police. Just weeks after Madison's disappearance, they made a connection between the case and the arrest of a 42-year-old man on other charges, but they would not say if he was a person of interest in the investigation. So far, he has not been charged in connection with Madison's disappearance.

The RCMP took the lead in the investigation last month after it was determined the missing girl might have been outside Bathurst in RCMP jurisdiction. RCMP Cpl. Hans Ouellette said the effort to find the girl continues.

"Our priority is to locate Madison Roy Boudreau and bring answers to her family and community. We are urging anyone with information about the disappearance to call police or Crime Stoppers," Ouellette said last week.

"RCMP specialized policing services may be in the area of Middle River in the coming weeks and months as part of the ongoing investigation," he added.

Lavigne said Madison was a carefree teen who loved to sing and dance.

She said the gathering Wednesday at the gazebo in Coronation Park will begin around 6 p.m. and is an opportunity for people to comfort each other and share stories about Madison.

Lavigne said the gazebo was Madison's favourite place to hang out with friends.

"We're going to have balloons there. We'll have candles lit. We just want as many people from the community to just come in and show support for some of her family members who will be there," she said.

People are being asked to wear something purple -- Madison's favourite colour.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2022.