A Letter from Laurie Odjick


March 8, 2009

To whom it may concern:

I write this letter to you as a concerned mother and citizen. I would like to bring to your attention several issues concerning the disappearance of my daughter, Maisy Odjick, and the manner in which the Kitigan Zibi Police Services and le Surete du Quebec have handled this case. Since my daughter’s disappearance, September 6, 2008, to present day, very little to nil support and communication has been provided by these police services. The lack of police services and support from the onset has been a long, frustrating and exhausting six months for me and my family.

My sixteen year old daughter was not alone when she disappeared. She and her friend, Shannon Alexander (17 years old) were together, and both disappeared on September 6, 2008. While I am deeply concerned for Shannon’s whereabouts, but out of respect for Shannon’s father and family, I cannot nor am I speaking for her in this letter.

I am of the position that government authorities, agencies and the public need to be informed on the incompetent, unprofessional, uncooperative, unaccountable behaviour of police services, in particular, the Kitigan Zibi Police Services (herein referred to as KZPS). In addition, I as a community member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishnabeg (herein referred to as KZA), I am also unsatisfied with the Chief and Council’s lack of leadership in directing concrete action and demanding accountability from the police concerning my daughter’s case. The lack of support, transparency and accountability is unacceptable. As you can appreciate, the disappearance of your child speaks volumes of worries, immense feelings of loss, isolation, heartache, mental anguish, and extreme emotional pain. I live with these emotions every minute of each day.

I demand my right to services, justice and support in locating my daughter. I have been exercising my rights all along. However, I feel as though I do not have the right to exercise my right to information concerning my minor daughter. For instance; when I called the Surete du Quebec to speak to a police officer investigating the Shannon Alexander case, I was informed to speak to the Kitigan Zibi police services because le Surete do not have my file, and I am not related to Shannon. I understand the nature of confidentiality, however, where else can I turn for police information when in fact I receive nil to no information from the KZPS. And, when I do receive any information from the KZPS, it is very skeleton and unprofessional in nature.

Furthermore, the police only provided information after much persistence on my part. My demand for reports is a very time consuming and overwhelming task. For example; since September 2008, I have received only one report. It took me two months from December 2008 to February 2009, after constant requests to the KZA Chief and Council. Just recently, I received a report. This report is eight double spaced pages in length with no letterhead or signature. It should be noted that in reading the report, I am left with the feeling that I did the police’s job because they report on leads and sources which I provided to this police service. In the end, there is nothing substantial. Once again, I am left with much more questions, uncertainty and emptiness.

It must be noted that at the onset of Maisy’s and Shannon’s disappearance, no thorough ground search or proper investigation was conducted. At this point, any evidence collected in September 2008, is damaged because the police that collected the evidence did not possess the expertise to do so. Furthermore, the families were not given any information on the results of the evidence collected.

Very recently, a media source informed me that the Surete du Quebec have evidence that indicates the girls ran away. If this is true, why has not the KZ police service or the band council informed me of this? If this is true, then is the file closed? If this is true, does this resolve my daughter’s disappearance? A number of questions still remain, where is my daughter and what resources will be made available to find her, and what evidence was used to make this conclusion? I demand and deserve no less to be informed and provided with this evidence or any information pursuant to this case.

Since my daughter’s disappearance, I have been asking for answers to my numerous inquiries. I have been demanding for a full and proper investigation. I have been requesting a full report which is inclusive of sound actions taken and end results. I have been demanding for continual communication with the police services. My inquiries and demands have not been answered in a respectful and satisfactory manner. Since September 2008, I have been asking for an answer to two very simple but monumental questions: WHY WAS MY DAUGHTER’S FILE TRANSFERRED TO THE KITIGAN ZIBI POLICE SERVICES by the Surete du Quebec? WHO GAVE THIS ORDER? I cannot help but feel that there is a cover up here.

I cannot understand why this occurred in light of the fact that Maisy was not on the reserve when she disappeared. In looking at this situation, on one hand, an argument can be made that the decision was made because of a jurisdictional issue, however, on the other hand, in legal context, where the harm occurred, then this is the jurisdiction to deal with the matter. In my daughter’s case, her disappearance is the harm, and the disappearance happened while she was off reserve, therefore, the Surete du Quebec is the proper policy authority to conduct the investigation and handle the case. I do not wish for my daughter to become a jurisdictional issue, nor to be immediately ruled as a ‘runaway’ teen. These are lame excuses used to negate the seriousness of this situation, to deny support and resources, to default on action, to discriminate and against me and my daughter, to refuse responsibility and to be accountable to the people. This is unacceptable to me as a human being, a mother, as a member of the community, and a citizen of society.

In essence, I feel that both the KZPS and KZA have applied have applied the standard practice of blaming the victim. I am the victim, but to these entities, it is my fault that Maisy ran away; it is my fault that she disappeared; it is my fault that I waited too long to inform the police; it is my fault that I do not contact the police regularly by way of phone calls or station visits.

Is it my fault that I am demanding answers, accountability and actions to be taken by both entities? To treat my daughter’s disappearance as a ‘runaway’ teen; or to treat her as promiscuous, and to treat me as the faulting party is abominably unacceptable. I feel that justice is denied. A young girl is missing. I urgently demand that action by the proper authorities must be taken to find her. I demand that the proper police authority take all and necessary steps to help locate my daughter. My daughter deserves support and justice as any other missing person, for instance; Brendan Crisp, Ardeth Woods, Jennifer Teague.

It does not make sense that the KZ police service and the KZA community leaders invested so much time, financial resources and media attention to locate a missing lion cub, but nil t6o nothing is invested for our missing young girls. How much money was spent on finding Boomer, the baby lion? Maisy and Shannon are community members; they are also citizens of society and they desrve attention, support and justice.

My daughter’s return home, or the very least, to know her whereabouts; to know what happened to her are my main priorities and it is with urgency that I call upon your office to assist me in acquiring from the Surete du Quebec, Kitigan Zibi Police Services and the Kitigan Zibi Anishnabeg Chief and Council prompt, professional and unequivocal answers to all my inquiries; to obtain a full and proper investigation of Maisy’s disappearance, with the appropriate expertise to be employed; and for the Kitigan Zibi police services and Kitigan Zibi Anishnabeg Chief and Council to be held accountable to me, my family and to the people for their inability to demonstrate due diligence in accountability and transparency with my daughter’s case.

Should you like to discuss the contents of my letter, please do not hesitate to contact me at justiceformissing [at] gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from your office concerning the issues I raised in this letter. I thank you for your attention and kind consideration to my letter.

Sincerely,

Laurie Odjick

↓