The Disappearance of Chelsea Poorman

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EARLY LIFE:

Chelsea Poorman was born to parents Sheila Poorman, a support worker with Lu’ma Native Housing Society, and Michael Kiernan. When she was young, her parents divorced, and for a time she and her sister, Paige, stayed with their father.

Chelsea is a member of Kawacatoose First Nation in Saskatchewan, through her mother’s family. Those who knew her describe her as a trusting woman who loved animals, music, fashion and writing music. Polite and soft-spoken, she had dreams of one day attending film school.

In 2014, Chelsea got into a car accident, which left her with lasting injuries. Rods were placed in her leg and arm, and she also suffered a brain injury. As a result of the accident, she walked with a limp and had to wear a brace on her left leg, without which she had difficulty walking, and a lifted shoe on her right foot. She also couldn’t fully bend her left arm, which permanently stayed bent at a 90-degree angle.

In July 2020, Chelsea moved from Regina, Saskatchewan to Burnaby, British Columbia to life with her boyfriend. According to Michael, Paige had first moved out to the west coast to live with her mother, prompting Chelsea to follow. However, unlike Paige, Michael claims Sheila didn’t want Chelsea to live with her, something he wasn’t immediately aware of.

Shortly after she arrived in British Columbia, she couldn’t be reached for five days. She was reported missing by Sheila and Paige, but later managed to get in touch with her mother, saying she’d lost her phone and hadn’t been able to reach them.

LEAD UP TO DISAPPEARANCE:

On the evening of September 6, 2020, Chelsea and Paige went out for drinks in Vancouver’s Granville Entertainment District. They then spent some time at a friend’s apartment at 1278 Granville Street, where they had a few more drinks and talked.

Just before midnight, Chelsea left alone. She didn’t tell anyone where she was going or who she was going to meet.

At around 12:57am on September 7, 2020, Paige managed to get ahold of her sister via cellphone, who said she was spending time “with her ‘new bae'”. This suggested the existence of a new love interest, which struck Michael as odd, as he wasn’t sure if Chelsea had broken up with her previous boyfriend. When Paige asked who she was with, Chelsea hung up and shut off her phone.

This was the last time anyone had contact with her.

DISAPPEARANCE:

On September 8, 2020, Chelsea’s family reported her missing to the Vancouver Police Department. However, it wasn’t until 10 days later that a news release was issued regarding her disappearance.

While Chelsea had gone missing in the past, this time felt different.

SEARCH:

Chelsea’s family was frustrated over the initial police response to her disappearance. Due to the delay in notifying the public, they feel precious time was wasted. As such, Sheila hired a private investigator and continues to search for her daughter. Michael has dedicated his time to driving between Saskatchewan and British Columbia in his van, raising awareness about the case.

Police interviewed those associated with Chelsea and conducted a canvas of Granville Street for surveillance footage. While they were able to find footage of her and Paige leaving dinner, they were unable to find any of her leaving their friend’s apartment.

There has been no activity on Chelsea’s social media accounts, bank account or her cellphone. The last place her phone pinged was Victoria Square, 12 blocks north of where she was last seen.

There is currently a $20,000 reward being offered for information leading to her whereabouts.

Months after Chelsea first went missing, the Homicide Unit of the Vancouver Police Department contacted Sheila. While initially given to the unit, the case has since been transferred to the Missing Persons Unit, with assistance from homicide investigators and the Saskatchewan Police Service. According to investigators, they continue to follow up on new leads and review old evidence, to ensure nothing has been glossed over or missed.

AFTERMATH:

Chelsea’s family has set up a Facebook group, Bring My Sister Chelsea Home, and a website dedicated to the case.

On the six-month anniversary of her disappearance, her family held a vigil in downtown Vancouver, with support from Butterflies in Spirit. Those in attendance were asked to wear red to both symbolize their support for the family and to honour Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

On February 14, 2021, Sheila and Paige took part in the Women’s Memorial March in downtown Vancouver’s Eastside. It’s an annual event to remember the country’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and a call for action. The two carried photos of Chelsea with the hashtag #BringChelseaHome.

For the one-year anniversary of Chelsea’s disappearance, supporters of the search donned pink and red for a march dedicated to raising awareness about the case. A similar event was held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where some of her family resides.

CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:

Chelsea Poorman went missing from the Granville Entertainment District of downtown Vancouver on September 6, 2020. She was 24 years old, and was last seen wearing a black crop top, a grey sweater, black jeans and brown boots. She was also carrying a beige purse. At the time of her disappearance, she stood at 5’3″ and weighed 120 pounds. She has black hair and brown eyes, and has faded tattoos on her left arm.

As aforementioned, she walks with a slight limp, wears a brace on her left leg and a lifted shoe on her right foot. Her left arm is permanently bent at a 90-degree angle and is covered in scars.

Those with information regarding the case are asked to contact the Vancouver Police Department at 604-717-2500 or 604-717-3321. Tips can also be called in directly to Mike at 778-227-5611 or anonymously via Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Image Credit: CBC News

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