The Disappearance of Abigail Andrews

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DISAPPEARANCE:

Abigail Andrews hasn’t been seen or heard from since April 7, 2010. At 6:00pm that evening, she was last seen leaving her basement apartment on 99th Avenue in Fort St. John, British Columbia. While leaving the residence, she told her neighbour, who also happened to be her landlord’s father-in-law, that she was going to visit a male friend who lived on 98th Avenue.

At 7:00pm, she called her mother, Debbie Andrews, to relay the same information. Before hanging up, Debbie asked her daughter to text her or give her a call once she arrived home, which Abigail agreed to do. According to reports, she was last seen walking down 94th Avenue, toward 98th Avenue.

Abigail never again got in contact with her mother that night. After two days without any calls or texts, which is said to be out-of-character for the 28-year-old, her parents filed a missing persons report. The date was April 9, 2010.

SEARCH:

When the search for Abigail began, it was conducted by the Fort St. John RCMP and its General Duty Section. When they interviewed the family, it was learnt that Abigail was three months pregnant, which was cause for alarm, as both she and her unborn child were potentially at risk if not located. According to her family, she was excited to be a first-time mother and had been stockpiling supplies, including diapers and food. Two days before her disappearance, she had gone shopping with her parents to purchase more items in preparation for the birth.

When it was first announced that Abigail was missing, both local and national media broadcast the story. However, as time went on and little evidence was uncovered, coverage of the case began to wane.

A few days after Abigail was reported missing, the RCMP, aided by North Peace Search and Rescue, the BC Coroners Service and a forensic anthropologist, searched the North Peace landfill, located just outside Fort St. John. On April 20, 2010, it was announced that the search had been completed. However, investigators wouldn’t share what led to the search or if anything of value was discovered.

Police checked her bank account to see if there had been any activity on her bankcard after she disappeared. It was found that the card hadn’t been used since around the time she went missing and there were no unusual purchases on it to indicate anything suspicious.

To help raise awareness, Abigail’s friends and family set up a Facebook group, where they would share updates and post pleas for information.

On May 5, 2010, a vigil was held for Abigail at The Frontier Bar and Grill, where she worked as a waitress. Participants met at Centennial Park in Fort St. John before walking down 100th Street, carrying candles meant to symbolize them lighting her way home. After reaching The Frontier Bar and Grill, a missing persons prayer was said, a photo slideshow was presented and there was a musical performance of the song, “Women’s Warrior”.

Abigail’s parents were not present at the vigil, as it was too difficult for them.

At the beginning of the investigation, there were many rumours circulating around Fort St. John in regards to what could have possibly happened to Abigail. One specific rumour speculated that Abigail liked to party and was part of the wrong crowd, which her cousin, Delilah Andrews, disputes. There were also rumours regarding cryptic texts sent to the family shortly after her disappearance, something they aren’t allowed to comment on due to the ongoing nature of the investigation. These rumours have upset the family, as they feel the public isn’t taking the disappearance as seriously as they would like.

In June 2010, a group of Abigail’s friends and family organized a search for her. They hadn’t previously been allowed to do so, as the RCMP worried any unauthorized searches could interfere with the investigation. On the advice of a psychic, they searched around her apartment, as well as an area outside Fort St. John, but were unable to uncover anything.

That same month, two billboards were erected along the Alaska Highway in Hope, British Columbia in the hopes someone driving along the highway could have seen something related to the case. They were arranged by Abigail’s aunt, Beth Cobbett, and featured two large photos of Abigail, her physical description and phone numbers the public could call if they had any information or tips. They stayed up for one year, and the $4,700 needed was raised through donations by the family and local businesses.

Some sources say she was single at the time she went missing. However, locals share she was in fact dating someone. The man, who has never been publicly identified, is said to have been from out of town.

In 2011, Abigail’s friends ran a letter campaign in the hopes of getting her case featured on the CBC investigative show, The Fifth Estate.

In 2013, the RCMP uploaded a re-enactment video to their YouTube channel, in the hopes of stirring up memories and bringing in new leads. At the same time, they also shared they had one suspect, who they didn’t publicly name. They believe this person to have spoken about what they did to others and asked anyone with any information to come forward. Even though they have a suspect, they are still missing key information to conclude the investigation.

In order to bring more awareness to Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women, Toronto-based illustrator Evan Munday tweeted illustrations of some of the missing to then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Abigail was one of the women featured. The project was done in tribute to them and was used as an attempt to elevate political interest in the cases.

As of late, there have been no recent updates about the investigation. The case is currently being investigated by the RCMP Provincial Serious Crime Unit and its investigators are currently treating Abigail’s disappearance as a possible homicide. While very little has been shared with the public regarding the investigation, the RCMP has said foul play hasn’t been ruled out and that there have been numerous searches conducted based on tips from the public.

THEORIES:

1) The primary theory in the case is that Abigail’s disappearance is the result of foul play. This is a theory held by both investigators and her family, and it’s the overall consensus that the missing woman is currently deceased. However, given how little evidence has been uncovered and a lack of a body, it’s difficult to confirm what happened to Abigail on the evening of April 7, 2010.

2) A second theory in the case is that Abigail left of her own accord. This is the result of public speculation and is not a theory held by those close to the investigation. According to the Andrews family, Abigail was excited about the future and had no need to walk away from her life.

Many feel this unlikely due to the fact she went missing with only the clothes she was wearing, her wallet and her cellphone. As well, there’s been no activity on her bankcards. If she had willingly gone missing, one would assume she would accessed her bank account for funds.

AFTERMATH:

Abigail was one of the missing persons honoured during the Sisters In Spirit vigil, which is a march to honour missing and murdered aboriginal people. Her family was in attendance.

CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:

Abigail “Abby” Andrews went missing from Fort St. John, British Columbia on April 7, 2010. She was 28 years old and is believed to have been wearing black pants, a white shirt, a dark blue or black vest, a black mid-length belted trench coat, and a pair of black sequinned flats. She’s also said to have been carrying a purple Guess purse and her pink BlackBerry Pearl cellphone. She is of Métis descent. At the time of her disappearance, she was 6’0″ and weighed approximately 200 pounds. She has shoulder-length dark brown hair and hazel eyes.

When she went missing, she was approximately three months pregnant, although she wasn’t yet showing. She has breast implants, which have serial numbers, and she has a tribal art tattoo on her lower back. According to her family, her teeth are in good condition and she’s known to use a dental pallet retainer. As well, her right index finger appears crooked due to a previously-healed break.

Currently, the case is classified as a missing person and is being investigated as a possible homicide. If alive, she would be in her mid-to-late thirties.

If you have any information, you can contact the RCMP E Division Serious Crime Unit at 778-290-3900. Tips can also be called into the Fort St. John RCMP at either 250-787-8100 or 250-787-8140, or anonymously via Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Image Credit: Alaska Highway News

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