WATCH: Ottawa has launched the DNA databank honouring a missing Vancouver Island teen. The mother of missing Lindsey Nicholls has been fighting for the national program for 18 years. Isabelle Raghem reports.
It’s a major victory for Sidney’s Judy Peterson. She has signed consent forms for her missing daughter’s DNA to be entered in a national database – a program that she had been fighting to get for 18 years.
“It was pretty surreal getting the paperwork and looking at the documents and knowing that it’s this is really happening,” says Peterson, mother of missing Lindsey Nicholls.
Nicholls was 14-years-old when she disappeared on Aug. 2, 1993 while walking down a rural road in Courtenay. Despite years of campaigning and searches, the case has never been solved.
A few years after her disappearance, Peterson requested her daughter’s DNA be entered into a police database in case her remains had been found. She found out that wasn’t an option.
“When I found out it didn’t exist, I just had this horrible feeling that she was out there somewhere and I would never know,” adds Peterson.
That’s when she began lobbying for “Lindsey’s Law” — legislation that allows the DNA of a missing person to be cross-referenced with crime scene samples. While there was previously a database for DNA for people convicted of a crime, or taken from a crime scene, it did not include missing persons.
The federal government announced Monday the database she has been fighting for is up and running.
“I have the comfort of knowing that if she’s found, I will know,” says Peterson, “I feel like this is a step that I know I’m doing absolutely everything I can to find her.”
“There could be a match from a crime scene as soon as her DNA is entered.”
Peterson says there’s already a sense of accomplishment knowing ‘Lindsey’s law’ could help not only her family but also families across the country who are also desperate for answers.
“As it gets rolling and we get more and more profiles in, there will be some matches and heartbreaking news I’m sure but I think all of us we just want to know for sure what happened.”
This summer will mark 25 years since Lindsey Nicholls disappeared.