Missing & Murdered: The Unsolved Cases of Indigenous Women and Girls
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Matthew Bushby and his fiancée Claudette Osborne-Tyo were shocked when their second child together was born.

“We were told after we had our ultrasounds that he was a boy and so we had the name picked out... We never really talked about a girl’s name,” Bushby said.

He remembers watching Osborne hold their daughter.

“She was quite frantic that we hadn’t [picked] a name yet,” he said.

“We were carrying on about how we had no name for our baby and I finally said, ‘patience, Claudette!’ After that, that was [Patience’s] name, and she loved it.”

That was July 10, 2008. Fifteen days later, Osborne disappeared.

Tracing her last steps is excruciating for Bushby and the rest of Osborne's family: On July 24, 2008 she left a message for her sister, Tina Osborne. In the message, Osborne said she needed a ride home because she was in bad company.

Tina didn't hear it until two days later, when she added minutes to her cell phone.

The first Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) press release on Osborne circulated almost two weeks after she went missing.

The WPS reported Winnipeg's Selkirk Avenue and Charles Street, an inner-city area known to sex-trade workers, was the last place she was seen.

On May 12, 2009, nine months after the WPS's initial report, police said Osborne was actually last seen at the Lincoln Motor Hotel on McPhillips Street.

Finally, more than two years after she vanished, the WPS said Osborne moved from the hotel to the corner of Selkirk Avenue and King Street before she was seen for the last time.

According to Bushby, police traced Osborne's calling card and discovered she was at Selkirk Avenue and King Street, using a pay phone around 6:30 a.m. on July 25, 2008.

In July 2012, Project Devote, a task force dedicated to investigating missing and murdered persons cases in Manitoba, took on Osborne’s case.

Bernadette Smith is frustrated with the number of officers that have investigated and abandoned her sister’s disappearance.

"...Claudette has had more than two officers on her case... We've had about four or five since she's been missing."

Smith said aspects of the case could get lost in translation because the notes that one officer takes may be difficult for a new officer to understand.

When it comes to the possibility of a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, Smith said it won't be enough to solve the problem.

"...On one hand I don't want an inquiry if that's the only thing they are going to do and not do action... Our women need to be safe now," she said.

"How many more will go missing or [get] murdered by the time an inquiry is complete? And we don't know if they are going to implement any of the recommendations they are going to get from it."

While Smith and the rest of the family wait for answers, life goes on.

Since Osborne's disappearance, Bushby is raising Patience and Iziah, the children he shared with her.

Claudette, left, with Iziah and Matthew. (Supplied by family)

Osborne's daughter, Layla lives with Osborne's mother, Brenda, who spends time in the summer months digging up ditches in southeastern Manitoba looking for her daughter's remains.

Osborne's fourth child, Dayton, has a home with his paternal grandparents.

Bushby knows public opinion about his fiancée, who was originally from Norway House Cree Nation, is not favourable.

He never forgot the headline CBC ran on its first story about Osborne: “Family Pleads for Help Finding Missing Winnipeg Sex-Trade Worker.”

"She was more than that," he said.

"She was my everything."

Despite internal struggle and addiction, Osborne was always smiling. She was working on staying sober at the Behaviour Health Foundation in Winnipeg, and at one time Osborne was drug and alcohol-free for 15 months.

"She just slipped," Bushby said.

"If she had more time..."