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Melanie Morrison says her little sister, Tiffany Morrison, was the source of energy in the family.
When asked to share a specific story, Melanie pauses for more than a minute on the phone before an 8-year-old memory breaks the silence.
“I think the most recent thing, closest to when she went missing, would have been earlier that spring,” she said.
It was Tiffany’s knack for spontaneity on that particular day in 2006 that splashed some colour over Melanie’s postpartum blues.
“She came by and told me ‘come on, let’s go.’ And I said ‘where are we going?’ And she goes ‘it doesn’t matter. Come with me.’”
While Melanie’s husband watched their baby daughter, Tiffany took her sister on an adventure.
The pair went off-roading in her Chevy four-by-four through the mountains spread out along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River.
“She put on music, played it loud, things I can’t do at home,” said Melanie.
“I think that would have been one of the major times that she just — that’s her. ‘Let’s just go and don’t worry about what’s bothering you.’”
Melanie says the last place her sister was seen was in LaSalle, Que. before getting into a taxi with a man. The cab’s route that night lead back to the reserve, but Tiffany never made it home.
Peacekeepers in the community were in charge of bringing her back.
According to Melanie, their training wasn’t good enough to find her sister.
“At one point, we were instructed that if we came up with any ideas, they’re more than willing to look into it,” she said.
“I don’t think it’s proper when the family of the person missing is being told ‘well you tell us what to do.’”
Four years later, Tiffany’s remains were discovered only a few kilometers away from her home.
A construction worker found her in a wooded area by the Honoré Mercier Bridge, which links Montreal with the South Shore region of the province. The case was deemed a homicide and the Sûreté du Québec took over.
Meanwhile, the man in the taxi from that night told police the cab driver dropped him off at home first, and then continued on with Tiffany.
He said he doesn't remember details about the driver and he has refused to take a lie detector test.
Melanie says the past nine years have been tormenting, largely because the investigation into her sister’s murder has been mishandled.
She hopes that a federal inquiry could address problems stemming from police mistakes.
“I know that a lot of people want an action plan, but I’m for the inquiry because I know my sister’s case is screwed up. And we may be looking at no closure or finding the person due to the fact that it wasn’t handled properly,” she said.
“Now, if this inquiry can help the next family not have to go through the problems that we went through, then great.”
Melanie and her family continue to wait for answers, holding out hope that the void inside themselves will be filled.
“They didn’t just take her life. They took a piece of each of us.”
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.