Calgary

'We are beyond devastated:' Family of slain Chestermere woman asks for help finding her body

Calgary police have charged a man with manslaughter after previously seeking information on a 69-year-old woman who went missing last month.

Vida Smith was reported missing on July 21 after travelling from Chestermere to Calgary

Calgary police say 69-year-old Vida Smith was killed. They have charged Kevin Barton with manslaughter. (Calgary Police Service)

The family of a Chestermere woman who is presumed to have been killed are pleading with the public for any information that could lead to her body.

"Vida Smith is more than just a missing person or a victim … she's a beautiful human being, she's a friend, a mother and a grandmother. She loved her grandchildren more than anything in this world," Smith's family said in a statement issued Wednesday.

"We are beyond devastated and our hearts are broken knowing that we'll never see her again."

On July 21, Smith travelled from Chestermere to Calgary to meet with a friend, police said. 

After the 69-year-old failed to return home and missed a medical appointment later in the week, her family reported her missing.

Police say Kevin Barton, who has been charged with manslaughter in the death of Vida Smith, travelled from Calgary to Edmonton on July 22 in this vehicle. Police are hoping to locate Smith's body. (Calgary Police Service)

Police believe she was killed.

On July 31, investigators charged 60-year-old Kevin Barton, also known as Chris Lee, with one count of manslaughter. 

But despite laying charges, police have yet to find Smith's body.

"Though we have laid charges, our investigation is not over," said Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta of the homicide unit. "We remain focused on locating Vida's remains so we can help bring some sense of peace to her family."

Police said it's believed Barton travelled from Calgary to Edmonton on July 22 in a beige Cadillac Escalade. While in Edmonton, it's believed Barton visited the Best Buy at 13924 137th Avenue N.W., police said.

"Even though we are seeking privacy during this unimaginable time, we are asking for the public's help.… If you saw something or if you know something, please come forward," Smith's family said.

Anyone who may have seen Barton in either city, or who may have witnessed any suspicious activity in a parking lot located on the west side of the Sunridge ATB, at 2555 32nd St. N.E. in Calgary, is asked to contact police.

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