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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 metres 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.


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