The family of a woman who disappeared in 2005 are worried that the investigation into her possible death may be stalled.
Cynthia Sunga had a three-year-old daughter, a common-law husband and a job at a record store when she disappeared in August of 2005.
She was 29 years old at the time, the youngest of five siblings. Both of her parents are dead.
"She was very shy, she was sweet," said her sister, Helen Scratch, with whom Sunga was estranged. "I know that she was very, in a sense lost because she just moved from the Philippines here, trying to get used to being in Canada. She was always smiling, and she was just someone that I never thought would ever be in this type of scenario."
The last two people to see Sunga were her daughter and her spouse, who never reported her missing.
It was her close friend, William Weber — now living in Kingston — who called police to report Sunga missing three months later after finding out no one else had done so.
Hasn't used bank, health cards
But despite having a child, the initial missing person's case didn't generate much attention. Ottawa police issued a news release that was eventually posted on their website, and there were few media reports.
Since she disappeared from her Donald Street apartment, Sunga has not used her health card, her bank card or her social insurance number. There was also no trace of her in the Philippines, where she lived before immigrating to Canada.
"I think the case fell through the cracks," Scratch said. "Number one, I feel like there weren't enough people fighting for her. … I personally feel that she … would never leave her baby."
The case languished for years. It was reviewed by the major crimes unit in 2010 when the investigator who was initially assigned the case was transferred to major crimes. She took the file with her to the major crimes unit out of personal interest, according to Insp. John Maxwell.
A few months ago, Scratch said police told her that Sunga is presumed dead.
No more leads to track down, police say
Sunga's case is one of only two missing persons cases being investigated by the major crimes unit, but it's being put back into the cold case rotation.
"They told me that it's placed aside, that they can't go any further than what they've done, if anything did happen to come up, then they would let me know," Scratch said.
Maxwell said police have no more leads to track down and that there were few leads to begin with. He said police are hoping for more information.
"There's no crime scene, there's no ransom note, there's no witnesses, there's nothing," Maxwell said. "Can you call that suspicious? Absolutely. Does it tip it over and make it into a homicide? No. We're miles from there.
"We have our own cold-case files that are true homicides, so we can't take on all the cold case missing persons just because it's possible that there's foul play there," Maxwell said.
Scratch said she plans to keep pressuring police to find out why and how Sunga disappeared.
Sunga's daughter is now 11 years old. She is currently living with her father in Sudbury.