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Sherri McLaughlin went missing from Kamloops BC on September 19th 1993 while riding here bicycle to a friends place.
Her bike and backpack were found on the side of the road. Foul play was suspected since the beginning of the search.

After all these years we have not been able to find the valuable peace of information that will help locate her. Somebody somewhere knows the whereabouts of Sherri McLaughlin. Please help us find Sherri.

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Missing woman's mother clings to hope daughter lives | Print |  E-mail

Times - Colonist. Victoria, B.C.: Sep 30, 1994. pg. 1
(Copyright Times Colonist (Victoria) 1994)

by Bruce Patterson - Times-Colonist staff - Ray Smith photo EACH TIME Jackie White hears about another missing child, her sorrow resurfaces.

It was just over a year ago that White's 20-year-old daughter, Sherri McLaughlin, was abducted while riding her bike through a residential district of Kamloops. "I heard Mindy Tran's dad on the radio begging for help. I can't help it. I hear it and I cry because I know his pain. That's what I did too," White said this week in an interview at her Sidney apartment.

White was in the process of moving from Kamloops to Vancouver Island when her daughter disappeared about 3 a.m., Sept. 19, 1993. Despite an RCMP investigation of hundreds of leads, the distribution of close to 60,000 missing posters and an intense search, there is no trace of the young woman.

Police from across western Canada will meet in Kelowna Oct. 12 to review Tran's mid-August disappearance from Kelowna along with the suspected abductions or murders of several other young people.

McLaughlin's case will be included as investigators compare notes and search for possible links or leads worth following.

White knows the chances of finding her daughter alive are slim.

She'll cling to hope as long as she can and try to cope with the uncertainty in the meantime. "They've put me in hell. I wake up in the middle of the night. I think of all the awful things that could have happened. I wonder if she's still here with us - if she was forced into prostitution. "It's almost like grieving but you can't really because you don't know. Sometimes I just get angry, angry at everybody." The emotional strain includes adjusting to raising a young child again - McLaughlin's 2 1/2-year-old son Stephen - while also working in a dry-cleaning shop.

White and her grandson share the ritual of touching a framed photograph of McLaughlin to maintain a connection. There are few other reminders for Stephen. At times, he calls his grandmother "Mommy" and refers to the woman with the long, light brown hair in the photograph as "Mommy Sherri." "When he's six or seven, , that's when it will be hard to explain when he asks, 'What happened to my mommy?' " said White.

It's painful for White to talk about her daughter's disappearance but she knows her chances of finding McLaughlin are better if she can keep the story in the media. "After five or six months, the public just forgets. But this is my daughter - a young girl, Stephen's mother." There are no promising leads in the case, Kamloops RCMP Cpl. Wayne Zaksauskas said Thursday. He has no doubt foul play is involved.

McLaughlin had been making the rounds of local nightclubs with a girlfriend the night she disappeared. Kamloops was busy that weekend with plenty of out-of-towners visiting the city for a truck mud- racing event.

McLaughlin arrived home about 3 a.m. About 20 minutes later, she got a call from a former boyfriend, Shane Gowans. She arranged to ride her mountain bike over to his home in the Brocklehurst district.

During their phone conversation, she got a call from another former boyfriend through the "call alert" phone service.

When McLaughlin failed to show up at Gowans's home, he went looking for her and found her bike and backpack on Parkcrest Avenue
. Someone had driven over the front of the bike. The backpack was on the ground about five meters away.

Both Gowans and McLaughlin's other ex-boyfriend have taken polygraph tests and been cleared as suspects.

McLaughlin, described by her mother as soft-spoken and unlikely to abuse drugs or alcohol, hadn't had any run-ins with the law. Her circle of friends didn't include any serious troublemakers, Zaksauskas said.

White has a gut feeling that someone was watching her daughter earlier in the evening and followed her. She thinks McLaughlin tried to use her bike to fend off the attacker.

McLaughlin's brother James and her father Garry, an RCMP officer in Surrey, have joined with White and scores of volunteers in trying to find a trace of the woman.

When the first anniversary of McLaughlin's abduction passed this fall, some people suggested time would help heal her family's wounds. "It doesn't make it any easier. I won't stop looking for her, nor will my son or her dad. It's affecting a lot of lives and someone knows something," said White.

Anyone with information can contact their local Crimestoppers phone line and remain anonymous if they wish. A reward is offered.

Psychic points RCMP to shallow grave of missing child Six western police forces searching for common elements in the disappearances of seven young people

MIRO CERNETIG. The Globe and Mail. Toronto, Ont.: Oct 14, 1994. pg. A.5

All material copyright Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc. or its licensors. All rights reserved.

Psychic points RCMP to shallow grave of missing child Six western police forces searching for common elements in the disappearances of seven young people

Friday, October 14, 1994

MIRO CERNETIG

Vancouver BC -- BY MIRO CERNETIG British Columbia Bureau VANCOUVER No matter how carefully they looked, the police dogs and search teams scouring the yellow, grassy hills and ravines around Kelowna never found the child's concealed grave.

For that to happen, it took an extraordinary telephone call from a Vancouver-area psychic, who had a premonition of a shallow grave near Mission Creek, a popular swimming hole in an Okanagan resort town usually known for its wineries and peach festivals. She or he - police are withholding the caller's identity - was one of 150 psychics who phoned in with unsolicited tips, but the only one who gave an exact geographical location for the body in the rolling landscape police had been searching for the past six weeks.

"We're in awe," said Sergeant Peter Montague, the RCMP's spokesman, who described the psychic yesterday as "bang on."

The case is hardly over. The gruesome discovery - police suspect the body is that of 8-year-old Mindy Tran of Kelowna - has led to even more chilling speculation. Is a serial killer, or killers, stalking people in the West?

Although the RCMP say there is no evidence of a link between the disappearance of Mindy and that of half a dozen other children, teens and young women in the past three years, Sgt. Montague said yesterday police have not had to investigate a similar spate of deaths since serial killer Clifford Olsen was stalking the province in the early 1980s.

Even the mention of the name of Olsen, who is in Kingston Penitentiary after being convicted of 11 murders, is raising trepidation in B.C. and Alberta, where his crimes still make people's blood run cold.

"Is there one person doing these? We don't know," Sgt. Montague said. "When you have several bodies showing up and they're victims of murder and sexual assaults and we can't solve them. . . . Going back to 1982 (with Mr. Olsen), that's how that happened, too."

Six western Canadian police forces have congregated in Kelowna this week "to ascertain if common elements exist."

Police from Edmonton, Victoria, Vancouver, Kamloops, Vernon and Kelowna are investigating the possibility "that one or more of the investigations may yield parts of a puzzle that could be shared by others," an RCMP press release said.

The faces of the missing or dead have been displayed on milk cartons, in missing children posters and in mug shots with grim articles in newspapers across the West about young women and children who were abducted, sexually assaulted and killed. They include: . Mindy, who disappeared Aug. 17 from in front of her house. She was wearing a pink shirt with a Mickey Mouse logo and a pair of running shoes with a flower print. They appear to match a shoe discovered where the body was found on Tuesday. . Tina Louise Parr, 25, a Kelowna resident who was strangled. Her body was discovered Sept. 26. . Jamie Dawn Vanwieren, 17, whose body was discovered half-submerged in a creek in Vernon, B.C. July 23. She was naked, except for a shirt that was pulled back to expose her chest. . Jennifer Shaun Cusworth, 19, whose fully clothed body was found Oct. 17, 1993, in a ditch near Kelowna. . Sherri Tawnya McLaughlin, 21, a Kamloops, B.C., resident who went missing Sept. 19, 1993. She was last seen riding a mountain bike, which was found lying on the shoulder of a road. . Corrine Gustavson, 6, of Edmonton. Witnesses say she was abducted from the front of her house Sept. 6, 1992. She was found dead two days later, sexually assaulted and smothered.

. Mandy Tremblay, who 3 when she was was abducted from her Edmonton residence in May, 1992. She was found 19 hours later in a farmer's field, alive but traumatized; her abductor had tried to strangle her with her running-shoe laces. . Michael Dunahee, a four-year-old who was abducted from Victoria's BlanshardSchool playground on March 24, 1991, and has not been found.

While each case has its peculiarities, two things probably lead police to search for links: the geographical closeness and the rarity of random homicides in Canada.

"We do know that this kind of homicide is, fortunately, a very rare kind of homicide, so it's not surprising that police might believe there are links, particularly when there's some geographical proximity," said Prof. Neil Boyd, director of the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University.

Prof. Boyd said that the cases, as well as the fact the three most recent have occurred close together, are bound to have the public wondering whether a predator is committing the crimes.

"These cases take on a life of their own because they're so unusual," he said. "They involve every parent's worst nightmare. A predator-prey relationship - the idea that somebody is out there stalking children."

Random killings are difficult to investigate. If it were not for the call from the psychic, for example, the grave in Kelowna might have gone unnoticed. The wooded area had, in fact, been searched six times before without success, Sgt. Montague said.

This is not the first time that practitioners of the paranormal have helped police.

"Twenty years ago, a psychic was used to find the location of a plane crash out of Quesnel which conventional investigation couldn't find. And I'm aware of another one where a car and its occupants went missing. A psychic said it was in a particular body of water. We sent divers in, couldn't find the car. Ten years later a sports diver found that car 100 yards away from the area we searched."

Sgt. Montague says the psychic with the tip in the Kelowna case was unusually persistent and had information that had a unique degree of geographical detail, making a further search seem worth a try.

"We'll never discount something that has some degree of credibility to it," Sgt. Montague said.

 

 

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