Maggie Lea Burke was born on November 9, 1983 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. According to her mother, Marie, she was a happy-go-lucky and outgoing person whose friendly nature allowed her to easily make friends. She also had a love for animals, with an aspiration of one day becoming a veterinarian.
Maggie lived in an apartment in the area of 118th Avenue, at the intersection with 9th Street, just north of Edmonton’s downtown core. The area is known for drugs, sex work and violence. Maggie struggled with drug addiction and participated in the sex trade in order to make ends meet. She was known to work the area of 89th Street, near the local 7-Eleven.
At the time of her disappearance, she worked as a server at restaurants and was the mother to a young daughter named Pipon.
LEAD UP TO DISAPPEARANCE:
Just before midnight on December 9, 2004, Maggie received a phone call from an unknown person. After finishing the call, she told her roommates she’d be right back, as she had to meet a friend. She took nothing with her.
Maggie was reported missing by her roommate, David Stang on December 18, 2004, after she still hadn’t returned home. However, the Edmonton Police Service did not release information about her disappearance until five months later.
The KARE Unit is currently handling the case. It’s a Royal Canadian Mounted Police entity that investigates cases of missing and murdered vulnerable individuals throughout Alberta. In April 2005, they released a public alert that detailed Maggie’s involvement in the sex trade industry, saying she lived a “high-risk lifestyle”.
According to David, he was not fully knowledgeable about Maggie’s work in the sex trade, only saying he would drive her to and from her meetings with clients.
In October 2015, the RCMP featured Maggie’s case in a 10-day social media campaign meant to highlight cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women across Canada.
In November 2015, Crime Stoppers set up a billboard at the intersection of 117th Avenue and 95th Street in Edmonton, in the hopes of jogging someone’s memory and reigniting interest in the case. That same month, they also released a series of video re-enactments.
Maggie’s family issued its first public pleas for assistance in 2015. They don’t believe she willingly left her of her own volition, given how close she was to her loved ones.
While foul play is suspected in the case, investigators have very little to go on. They say they have their suspicions, but don’t have enough evidence or information to know exactly what happened on the night Maggie’s disappearance.
CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:
Maggie Lea Burke went missing from Edmonton, Alberta on December 9, 2004. She was 21 years old, and what she was last seen wearing is currently unknown. At the time of her disappearance, she stood at 5’7″ and weighed between 120 to 125 pounds. She has brown hair with natural red streaks and brown eyes. She wore glasses, and has the following tattoos: a happy face on her left ankle and a marijuana leaf on her upper left arm.
She is known to go by the aliases “Lee” and “Angel”.
Police are still treating the case as a missing persons investigation, but have stated they believe foul play to be involved. If alive, she would be 37 years old.
Those with information regarding the case are asked to contact the Edmonton Police Service Complaint Line at 780-423-4567 or Project KARE at 1-877-412-5273. Tips can also be called into the Missing Women Tipline at 1-877-687-3377 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Image Credit: Edmonton Police Service