Edmonton

RCMP investigation into Amber Tuccaro's disappearance 'deficient,' report says

Amber Tuccaro’s family say the results of an independent federal review confirm what they have said about the RCMP investigation from the outset.

20-year-old woman from Mikisew Cree First Nation was last seen in Nisku on Aug. 18, 2010

Paul and Vivian Tuccaro address a new conference on Wednesday, as they reveal the findings of a report looking into the RCMP's handling of Amber Tuccaro's disappearance. (Peter Evans/CBC)

The family of murdered woman Amber Tuccaro says an independent federal review confirms what they having been saying from the outset about the RCMP investigation.

"What should've been done wasn't done," her brother, Paul Tuccaro, said Wednesday.

The 20-year-old woman from the Mikisew Cree First Nation was last seen in Nisku on Aug. 18, 2010, a day after flying into Edmonton from Fort McMurray with her infant son.

Her remains were found on a farmer's field in rural Leduc County two years later. Tuccaro's murder remains unsolved.

Paul Tuccaro read select passages of the 120-page report at a news conference with Amber's mother Vivian Tuccaro by his side.

The commission found that the investigation by Leduc RCMP was "deficient, in that various members were either not properly trained or did not adhere to their training, and that various members did not comply with various policies, procedures and guidelines."

In particular, the decision to remove Amber's name from the missing persons list soon after she vanished was deemed "erroneous," leading to a month-long delay in the investigation.

"Approximately one month passed without any effort being made at the detachment level to investigate Ms. Tuccaro's disappearance," the report says.

Amber Tuccaro went missing in 2010. Her body was found two years later in a farmer's field near Leduc, Alta.

It took four months for RCMP to interview Vivian Tuccaro about the disappearance of her daughter, which the commission found was "unreasonable and unexplained."

"Had practices been followed we would not be here today and maybe my sister would be back at home taking her son to school," Paul Tuccaro said.

A review of the investigation reports also found the contact information of potential witnesses was not always recorded by RCMP.

The review was completed by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP, an independent federal agency. The family declined to release the report in its entirety, though may revisit that decision.

Vivian Tuccaro said the decision to release parts of a review of the RCMP investigation into her daughter's disappearance was motivated by a desire to help other families going through similar circumstances. (Peter Evans/CBC)

Vivian Tuccaro saw the report for the first time earlier this month — more than four years after filing the initial complaint. 

Vivian said she released details of the report in an effort to help other families of missing and murdered Indigenous people.

"We want the families to know that we're here and if we can help in any way, they can get a hold of us," she said.

"The biggest thing here is not to give up."

But until the person who killed their daughter is found, the family said there is no justice for Amber.

"To the dirty bastard who's out there, we're not going away and we'll keep searching until you're caught," Vivian said.

The investigation was taken over by the RCMP's KARE unit after Amber's remains were found. The unit investigates unsolved homicides and cases of vulnerable missing persons.

John Ferguson, Alberta RCMP acting commanding officer, read a prepared statement at the news conference on behalf of commissioner Brenda Lucki.

The commissioner vowed to implement the recommendations and thanked the family for speaking up about the injustices they've experienced.

"The RCMP understands the urgency and importance of missing person cases. We must learn from our mistakes and continue to move forward with new policies and procedures," the statement read.

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