Nanaimo RCMP continue to plead with the public for more information regarding the disappearance of a woman who went missing almost 19 years ago.
Lisa Marie Young, then 21, went missing on June 30, 2002. After spending time with friends at a downtown Nanaimo nightclub that evening, Young left to grab a meal and was last seen getting into a red Jaguar driven by a man.
On Saturday, Nanaimo RCMP held their first news conference about the case in years, outside of their detachment.
Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP media spokesperson, said during the press conference that he wished the event was being held to make a major announcement in the case, but that simply isn’t the case. While foul play was immediately suspected after she went missing, no arrests have ever been made and her whereabouts remain a mystery.
Instead, he told reporters that with the 19-year anniversary of Young’s disappearance fast approaching, investigators have been working hard over the years and continue to work the case.
“The reality is she has been missing for 19 years and she would have celebrated her 40th birthday earlier this year,” he said. “We’ve had a number of investigators in 19 years work on this file and everyone their single goals was to find out what happened to her, hold those accountable for their actions and most importantly, to bring her home.”
Cpl. Markus Muntener, lead investigator of the case, told reporters there have been “numerous” searches for Young conducted in the past year alone due to new information.
“Those searches were extensive in detail and we have more of those searches planned in the future at some point,” he said.
Additionally, Muntener revealed that investigators have heard from multiple witnesses, who had previously not come forward, have also come forward.
“It took great courage for those people to come forward and provide information that is credible and important for the investigation,” he said. “A lot of those people may not have been comfortable doing that early on in this investigation but through the course of time and changes in their circumstances, they have come forward.”
However, despite whatever progress has been made, Young remains missing and Muntener pleaded with anyone who hasn’t come forward with information to speak with investigators.
“For those people who haven’t come forward, just knowing that other people have come forward and talked to us and provided us statements, should hopefully give you some peace of mind and give you the courage to come forward and talk to us and help move things forward,” he said.
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Const. Hailey Pinfold, who is also assigned to the case, said investigators have been approaching the case with an open mind.
“What we really want people to take away is that we are here to listen,” she said. “We want anybody who thinks they might have any information, whether it be a small piece of information or the spoke to the police 18 years ago and they feel that they still have that piece of information, we are just asking that people come talk to us because we are here to listen.”
After the press conference, a march from the Nanaimo RCMP detachment to Maffeo Sutton Park was held, followed by a series of speakers, including Young’s grandfather Chief Moses Martin of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation; Mariah Charelson, vice-president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council; Nanaimo mayor Leonard Krog; MLA Sheila Malcomson and MP Paul Manly.
Anyone with information regarding the case is urged to contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.