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Her family says she used to tell her only biological son, Anthony that she and he were growing up together because she had him when she was young.
“He really misses her. They weren’t mother and son, they were buddies,” said Milton Chaboyer, Melissa Chaboyer's father.
“It was really hard on him, especially around the holidays, her birthday, Valentine’s.” Chaboyer said Melissa’s friends and family called her Lissa.
And for them, time doesn't bring healing; nearly a decade after her murder, they're still left with questions and pain.
During the last eight to 10 years of her life, Lissa drove a taxi in Thompson, Man. between October and December to earn money to spend on Christmas gifts for her family.
Year-round, the Métis woman worked three to four jobs to provide for them.
"She was a foster mom to numerous kids in the community and from out of town," Chaboyer said.
He estimates his daughter fostered between 20 and 30 children in the last 10 years of her life.
That stopped when she was stabbed to death in her taxi on Nov. 26, 2005 at age 35; her body left on the pavement of a parking lot.
No charges have been laid in her murder, and the case remains unsolved.
"The RCMP had gone to Lissa's residence and told the kids, like Anthony, and the foster children," Chaboyer said. They told her mother, too.
"She was just traumatized when the officer stopped her in the driveway and said 'your daughter's dead,'" Chaboyer said.
Almost 10 years later, the RCMP detachment in Winnipeg, 700 miles south of Thompson, is mostly handling Lissa's case.
The family is dealing with the fourth investigator to work on it, and they say they have been left in the dark.
"They don't call it a cold case anymore. It's a historic case," Chaboyer said.
"It's surely not historic to us... We feel it all the time."
Despite feeling left out of the investigation, Chaboyer collects tips on his own and submits them to police. That's the only time authorities communicate with his family about the case, he said.
"I've got a whole file of tips that I've taken over the years."
He recently handed in tips to police, hoping one just might lead to Lissa's killer. In the meantime, Chaboyer remembers his daughter as someone who loved her family and trips to the cottage with them in the summertime.
"She used to visit the family every other day," he said.
Lissa visited her mom for the last time on the night she was killed.
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.