The Disappearance of Lucy Ann Johnson

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EARLY LIFE:

Lucy Ann Johnson was born Lucy Ann Carvell on October 14, 1935 in Skagway, Alaska. During her early life, she lived in various cities throughout the north, including Canada’s Yukon territory, where she lived from 1943 to 1952.

Not long after her time in the Yukon, Lucy met Marvin Johnson, who would become her first husband. In 1954, the pair married in Blaine, Washington. They eventually settled in the northern area of Surrey, British Columbia, near 103 Avenue and 145A Street.

When not at home, Lucy had regular contact with the Catholic Aid Society and worked at Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital. Marvin had been the first mate on a tugboat, but as of 1961 was unemployed.

DISAPPEARANCE:

Lucy was reported missing by Marvin on May 14, 1965. Surrey RCMP officials began to investigate and they discovered that Lucy had actually been missing since September 1961, when she was last seen by a neighbour in the 10300-block of 145A Street.

At the time of her disappearance, Lucy was 5’5″ and weighed approximately 110 pounds. She had a dark complexion and dark brown hair.

INVESTIGATION:

What the RCMP didn’t know at the time was that Lucy’s disappearance would become not just one of their oldest missing persons cases, but one of the world’s.

Initially, the case was treated as a homicide, with Marvin as the main suspect. While he never wanted to discuss his wife’s disappearance, neighbours who were questioned say they saw him digging a septic tank in the yard around the time of Lucy’s disappearance. With this information, police excavated the yard in 1965, but no evidence was found.

Throughout the duration of the case, there was little evidence found that could point investigators to Lucy. Officials compared DNA samples with those from unidentified human remains held by the B.C. Coroner’s Service, but no matches were ever made.

In June 2013, a renewed effort to solve the disappearance was launched, when Surrey RCMP featured her in their Missing of the Month series. They ran the story in local newspapers in the hopes of attracting new leads.

Given the renewed effort, Lucy’s daughter, Linda Evans, began her own search for her mother. She ran free advertisements in areas where Lucy had been known to frequent, such as northern British Columbia and the Yukon. At the time of her mother’s disappearance, she had been around seven or eight.

DISCOVERY:

Linda’s search efforts came to a head on July 13, 2013, when Lucy was found alive in the Yukon. A Whitehorse woman, who would turn out to be one of Lucy’s children from a second marriage, was reading a Yukon News classified ad and recognized her mother as the woman pictured and called the police.

The ad placed by Linda read: “I am looking for my relatives. My grandparents’ names are Margaret & Andrew Carvell. My mother’s name is Lucy Ann Carvell. She was born October 14, 1935, in Skagway.”

At the time she was found, Lucy was 77 years old. When pressed by her daughter as to why she disappeared, she claimed that Marvin had been abusive toward her and had been cheating on her with other women. He eventually told her to leave and wouldn’t allow her to take the children with her. Upon leaving, she remarried and had three more children. She lived with her new family in northern British Columbia until 1980, whereafter they had moved to the Yukon.

Linda is unsure how to feel about her mother’s story, as she doesn’t know if it’s a lie or if some parts have been exaggerated.

AFTERMATH:

Marvin remarried after Lucy’s disappearance and raised Linda and her younger brother, Daniel, with his second wife. Daniel passed away in his late teens and Marvin died in the late 1990s.

Upon finding out Lucy was alive and well, Linda flew from Vancouver to White Horse to reunite with her mother and meet her extended family. At the airport, she was greeted by her mother, her half-sister, her half-brother and a couple of aunts.

Linda and Lucy speak on the phone a couple of times a week.

Image Credit: The Globe and Mail

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