Mother of Nanaimo teen found dead in 2017 speaks publicly

Mother of Nanaimo teen found dead in 2017 speaks publicly

WATCH: The parents of a Nanaimo teen killed nearly two years ago still don’t know who murdered her. Makayla Chang was 16-years-old when she went missing. Her body found two months later. Her mother has never spoken publicly about Makayla before, but tonight we hear from her for the first time as she speaks with CHEK’s Kendall Hanson.

Makayla Chang’s mother struggles to talk about her daughter.

“I can’t talk when I cry,” said Janine Vautour as she begins her interview

Vautour says she was devastated, first by 16-year-old Makayla’s disappearance, and then again by the discovery of her body.

She hasn’t felt able to speak publicly about her daughter until now.

“I know it’s been two years but it doesn’t feel like it’s been two years. It feels like it just happened,” said Vautour.

Makayla Chang was last seen by a friend on March 19, 2017.

After her disappearance, Nanaimo RCMP began searching for her. At the time police indicated she may have been with 53-year-old Steven Bacon.

Eventually, police found Bacon and questioned him. Numerous searches in Nanaimo and beyond failed to find Makayla.

Then in May 2017, police announced that her body had been found and the death was being investigated as a homicide. Police still haven’t disclosed the location or any other details about her death.

Makayla’s parents say they don’t want her to be forgotten. They’re organizing a public event at Maffeo Sutton Park this Friday which coincides with what should’ve been Makayla’s 18th birthday.

“Because I don’t want her to become a cold case file,” said Vautour. “She deserves more than that and I know somebody out there knows something. It’s got to be eating away at them.”

“Also just to bring up the fact that it’s been two years and we haven’t really moved forward and there’s somebody out there who took a life, the life of our daughter and we just want justice,” said Kerry Chang, Makayla’s father.

RCMP say Makayla Chang’s homicide is a priority file and it’s being actively investigated but the outstanding questions surrounding Makayla’s death continue to haunt her parents.

“You know losing your child is the absolute worst thing that could happen to any of us and unfortunately, it’s something that we’re forced to deal with today and for the rest of our lives,” said Chang. “Personally it’s changed me as a person. [I’m] not the same person I used to be. [I] don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing yet but it’s a struggle. Every day is a struggle.”

They want answers about a daughter they loved so dearly.

“Please end our suffering,” said Vautour. “It’s bad enough that we’re never going to have her again.”

To help ease her suffering a tiny bit, Vautour just got a tattoo of her daughter. It says Makayla, has her picture and says “to the moon and back”. Something Vautour would say often to Makayla to describe her love for her.

The public event at Maffeo Sutton Park on Friday night will begin at 6 p.m.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Makayla’s parents say “they want her to be forgotten” instead of “they don’t want her to be forgotten.” CHEK News regrets the error. 

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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