Amber Manthorne’s sister fought back tears Friday as she made a heartfelt plea for help.
“Anything would help because we’re at a standstill right now,” said Manthorne’s sister Shannon Murray, as she stood with friends of the missing woman in Port Alberni.
“It almost feels like day one when we found out that she was missing. Shocked, numb,” said Manthorne’s friend Cheryl Payne.
Friends say she dreamed of having a family and becoming a wedding planner.
“She was my best friend, we’ve known each other since childhood,” said Kimberly Daradics.
According to friends, she had told them she was about to meet her ex-boyfriend Justin Hall at her Great Central Lake cabin and CHEK News has learned that signs of a struggle including a punched wall and blood were found in Manthorne’s bedroom soon after.
When Manthorne’s white Jeep was found dumped in a ditch south of Nanaimo, RCMP named Hall as a person they wanted to speak to, and days later he emerged denying any involvement.
“So I got a lot of people mad at me. I see the looks, I see the hate, everybody knows and it hurts,” Hall says in a video posted to social media in August 2022.
But Manthorne was never seen again despite searches by hundreds in the vast wilderness between Alberni and Nanaimo, and the RCMP’s Major Crimes Unit taking over the case.
“Right now is a particularly hard time because we’re really worried that we’re not going to get any answers,” said Daradics.
Because according to Manthorne’s sister Shannon Murray, RCMP visited her family’s home Thursday to inform them that Justin Hall had died on Wednesday. The first update from RCMP in nearly a year, Murray said.
“I feel like he is the only one who knew where she is and now I don’t know that I’ll find her,” said Murray.
Investigators have never named Hall a suspect in her disappearance.
“The news we received just a few days ago is just extremely shocking,” said Payne.
His mysterious death just days before the one year anniversary has now left those who love her, with even more questions.
“Maybe he reached out to somebody, and maybe he told someone, and maybe that person had fear in coming forward when he was still alive, and maybe they’re feeling sense of relief now that they can step forward,” said Daradics.
RCMP declined CHEK News’ requests for an update on Manthorne’s missing persons case, stating only that it remains an active investigation.