RCMP are asking anyone who knows the whereabouts of missing Ladysmith teen Payton MacDonald to come forward after the 13-year-old was reported missing earlier this month.
MacDonald was reported missing March 17 after officers received a request from the Ministry of Child and Family Development (MCFD) to check on her well-being.
The teen was known to be residing on a sailboat with her father in Ladysmith, and MCFD had a Family Court Order which directed her father to immediately disclose her whereabouts.
According to Ladysmith RCMP, Payton’s father was not cooperative and was subsequently arrested and held in custody for disobeying the court order.
Police say that Payton was last seen on the morning of Tuesday, March 15, with her father entering his van at the foot of Harbour View Road in Ladysmith.
The Vancouver Island District RCMP General Investigative Section has been supporting Ladysmith RCMP from the onset of the investigation and has now assumed conduct of the case.
“The longer she goes missing, the more our concern grows,” says RCMP Cpl. Alex Berube. 13 y/o Payton MacDonald vanished 2 weeks ago & her father who has custody, has been arrested in Ladysmith for breaching a court order, refusing to produce evidence of her well being. @CHEK_News pic.twitter.com/GVQo9P78hJ
— Skye Ryan (@SkyeRyanCHEK) March 31, 2022
On Tuesday, CHEK News received an email containing a video message from a girl calling herself Payton MacDonald who matches the missing teen’s description. RCMP investigators tell CHEK News they believe it is the teen.
“Hi my name is Payton MacDonald and the date is March 29th 2022,” begins the video.
“The allegations about my Dad are not true. I’m not a missing person. I’ve seen the reports and it pains me to understand what he must be going through,” she is recorded saying, holding up a newspaper, with her bangs hanging in her eyes.
“He doesn’t deserve any of this. He takes care of me.”
“I want you to leave us alone and I want our life back,” she finished the video saying.
Police are not saying whether they believe Payton is being held against her will. They said they have received and are assessing a video.
“We are assessing the veracity of that video and will be following any leads as to when the video was taken, who took that video,” said Berube.
On Thursday, investigators said they believed Payton is with someone who knows her father, who remains in custody.
“To this date, police efforts to locate Payton have not been successful,” said RCMP spokesman Const. Alex Berube.
Police also dispelled rumours on social media that Payton was safe and just on spring break.
“These posts are not true. We’re still looking to ascertain her whereabouts, see if she is safe, and check on her well-being,” said Staff-Sgt. Darryl Sandbach.
The 13-year-old is described as standing at about 5’6″ and weighing approximately 130 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes, note police.
Anyone with information about Payton’s whereabouts is being asked to contact their local police or the Ladysmith RCMP at 250-245-2215.