Clinging to a Nanaimo overpass Saturday, Kristie St. Claire said she hoped it wouldn’t come to this. Six months since her friend Amber Manthorne vanished from her Port Alberni home, there are still no answers.
So St.Claire hung banners bearing Manthorne’s picture in Nanaimo and Port Alberni on the six-month anniversary of her disappearance as the missing woman’s loved ones try desperately to keep the case from going cold.
“It’s pretty sad that it’s taken this long to find anything or do anything that brings her home,” said St. Claire, who went to school with Manthorne in Port Alberni.
Amber Manthorne was last seen alive on July 7, 2022.
Dozens of police and community searches combed around the 40-year-old’s home and where her Jeep mysteriously turned up 120 kilometres away in a Nanaimo area ditch. Her ex-boyfriend, who she was going to visit when she disappeared, has been interviewed and denied responsibility, and now updates from RCMP have stopped coming.
“It’s hard on everyone because people don’t know what to do anymore,” said St. Claire.
RCMP also continue to investigate the disappearance of 45-year-old Laura Huebner from Nanaimo in April 2022.
Friends tell CHEK News that she travelled there from Regina to meet up with a man she’d met on Tinder who had promised to take her out on his sailboat. That boat has since been searched by RCMP, and friends have never heard from her again.
“I’m not optimistic, just because of the situation. Just because the last we heard, she went on a boat with a strange man,” Huebner’s friend Danika Wright told CHEK News in May 2022.
CHEK News continues to request updates on the two missing women’s cases as the months stretch on, but RCMP will only say they are open and active investigations and there are no updates to give.
But a retired Corporal with the RCMP said there is likely much more going on in the background.
“The police are always ongoing, looking for information,” said Retired Cpl. Karen Adams, who now lives in Cobble Hill.
Adams served the RCMP for nearly 28 years before retirement and said her experience has shown people need to tell someone when they’ve committed a crime, so pressure like the banners could help.
“Especially if the person who may be responsible lives in Nanaimo, and they pass that sign or those signs. The guilt becomes more and more and more, and it can’t help but eat away at them,” said Adams.
Anyone with information on the disappearance of Amber Manthorne or Laura Huebner is asked to call RCMP, as their loved ones search for answers that will bring them home.