St. John's missing women cases shrouded in mystery, more than 3 decades later

Three women. Three mysteries. Three decades.

Sharon Drover, Pamela Asprey, Henrietta Millek cases remain unsolved

Pamela Asprey (left), Sharon Drover, Henrietta Millek. Drover disappeared in 1978; Asprey in 1984 and Millek in 1982. (CBC Archives)

Three women. Three mysteries. Three decades.

Their disappearances have eluded police for years, but officers say they still receive tips on what might have happened to Pamela Asprey, Henrietta Millek and Sharon Drover.

There are similarities. All three women were young, and up until a development in the Millek case on Saturday, they were all last seen in the downtown area of St. John's, and they left their belongings behind.

Their disappearances, between 1978 and 1984, left the city on edge.

Unlike the Dana Bradley case from the same era, no bodies have been discovered to help lead police in their investigation. 

Pamela Asprey, 20

Last seen: Nov. 12, 1984

Pamela Asprey, 20, was last seen getting into a car in front of the War Memorial in downtown St. John's on Nov. 12, 1984. (CBC Archives)

Pamela Asprey was almost 20 years old, and had left her McGrath Place boarding home to go to Erin's Pub on Water Street one November night in 1984. 

Police do not know how she got from the boarding house to the bar, but in an interview from the early 1990s, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said Asprey had a history of hitchhiking.

It's believed she stayed for a couple of hours and left, leaving behind her wallet with a friend at a nearby bar advising she would return 20 minutes later.

She never did.

A witness told police she was seen getting in a large, dark car with a male driver at 9:30 p.m. near the War Memorial on Duckworth Street.

Henrietta Millek, 25

Last seen: Dec. 11, 1982

Henrietta Millek disappeared in December 1982. (CBC)

Henrietta Millek was originally from Nain, Labrador, but had been living in St. John's.

Police said on Saturday they now have reason to believe that Millek was last seen on foot in the area of the Trans-Canada Highway, headed toward Conception Bay North along Roaches Line.

Previously they had said she was last seen at the Key Club in the west end of Water Street. It has been believed that on the night of her disappearance, Millek had been having trouble with at least two men at the club, and may have left the club against her will.

Previous reports were that her keys and purse, along with other belongings, were found at the club and that Millek did not return for her personal belongings, and was never seen again. 

Sharon Drover, 17

Last seen: Dec. 29, 1978

Sharon Drover, 17, was reported missing in December 1978. She left her place of work and hitchhiked home. (CBC Archives)

Sharon Drover had just finished a shift at McDonald's on Kenmount Road after midnight. She intended to hitchhike home to her boarding house on Livingstone Street.

Following publicity in the early 1990s, two brothers came forward stating that they picked up a female hitchhiker on Kenmount Road the night that Drover went missing.

They said they dropped her off on Long's Hill.

The brothers said the young woman appeared to get in a heated conversation with some people near the front door of her apartment.

Moments later, the young woman was seen running south on Long's Hill.

'Open and unsolved'

Without the recovery of human remains, an RNC spokesperson said it's difficult to rule whether or not the women were murdered. 

"Foul play has not been ruled out," an RNC spokesperson said in an email to CBC News.

"Usually the recovery of human remains or witness statements would give this indication."

Tips have come in over the last several years, and have been followed up, to no avail. Each case remains "open and unsolved."

Despite the similarities, police said it's not believed at this time that the three cases are connected. 

Currently, the RNC has two missing person cases on file where its been determined that foul play is involved — the case of Joshua Whalen and the human skull discovered in 2001 on Mineral Road in Conception Bay South. 

Anyone with information on the disappearances of Drover, Millek and Asprey can call the RNC at 729-8000 or Crime Stoppers. 

About the Author

Ariana Kelland

Reporter

Ariana Kelland is a reporter with the CBC Newfoundland and Labrador bureau in St. John's.