Missing & Murdered: The Unsolved Cases of Indigenous Women and Girls
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“Peace, Felicia.”

That is what Matilda Solomon says her daughter, Felicia Solomon, wrote after every short story she penned in a journal.

“She was always writing,” she said.

Matilda still has Felicia’s journal. She doesn’t read it often because it brings back painful memories.

It was March 21, 2003, when Matilda first tried to report her daughter missing.

“When she didn't come home that night, I phoned missing persons but they said they can't do anything about it until it's [after] 24 hours," she recalled.

Matilda didn’t see her daughter the day before, which was very unusual because it was family allowance day. After school, the mother and daughter would always go grocery shopping and run errands. Then Felicia would get an allowance and she would wander off to buy something.

“I knew right away ... it was not like her to not come home [or] phone,” Matilda said.

Matilda tried to call the Winnipeg Police Service again days later.

Then on March 24, 2003, Matilda got news that her brother had died by suicide back on the Norway House Cree Nation.

“I said I didn't want to go. My kids left on a plane and I was still waiting for her.”

She ended up going to Norway House by vehicle for the funeral. That same day, she headed back to Winnipeg with her relatives, Darlene and John Osborne.

The family made posters with Felicia's picture on them and handed them out.

“We were looking for her on the streets,” Matilda said, from morning until night.

It wasn’t until May 12, 2003, more than six weeks after Felicia was last seen, that the Winnipeg Police Service issued a press release. The release said she had been missing since April 4 and she may be a youth at risk.

On July 8, 2003, police issued another press release reminding the public that Felicia was still missing. This report stated a new date, March 24, as when Felicia went missing.

Then on October 2, 2003, the Solomon family learned that body parts that were found in the Red River three months earlier belonged to Felicia.

That’s when the stories started to vary on Felicia, her mother recalled.

“I remember when reporters came to my house and I told my cousin to tell them to go away. And they start making up their own stories,” Matilda said.

She started reading stories that her daughter was involved in the sex trade.

“I would've known if she was,” Matilda said.

“I know she wasn't involved in sex trade and gangs. She never believed in gangs; she even wrote about it.”

In July 2012, Project Devote, a police task force probing missing and murdered persons cases in Manitoba, announced that it would lead the investigation.

Matilda knows they are doing the best with what little information they do have. She says she’s in contact with investigators, but she hasn’t heard any new information in years.

A spokesperson for Project Devote would only say Felicia’s case is an ongoing investigation.

Felicia isn’t the only girl to have met this fate within the family line. Her older cousin, Helen Betty Osborne, was murdered in The Pas, Man., in 1971.

For 15 years, people in the town knew who did it, but no one said anything to police. In 1987, four males were charged for the murder, but only one served jail time. The case was examined in the Manitoba Justice Inquiry. A report was released in 1991.

Felicia’s other cousin, Claudette Osborne, went missing on July 25, 2008. And a distant relative, Hillary Wilson, was found murdered on Aug. 20, 2009. Both are Winnipeg cases and still remain unsolved.

Without a doubt, the Solomon family supports a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

“We still have to remember all the women who went missing all these years. We gotta find who's responsible; could be a … serial killer,” Matilda said.

That suspicion became evident for her when she learned of the death of Tina Fontaine, 15, whose body was pulled from the Red River on Aug. 17, 2014, near the Alexander Docks -- the same area where Felicia’s remains were found 11 years earlier.

“I think maybe the same person was after her [Tina] because when my daughter used to walk to school, somebody was watching her -- 'There's this car following me to school, Mom.’ I said, 'Take a different path,' and she keeps telling me that, ‘There's this car following me,’ and that's when she [went] missing.”

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CBC News continues to investigate missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in Canada, looking at the unsolved cases and telling the stories of the families and communities.