Manitoba

How CBC investigated unsolved cases of missing and murdered indigenous women

CBC News spent months checking into reports of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada and trying to locate family members.

Checks made with police, families, community leaders, organizations and public sources

An outline image of a woman representative of unsolved missing and murdered indigenous women cases. (CBC)

CBC News spent months checking into reports of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada and trying to locate family members.

Several individuals and organizations have compiled lists of cases in Canada, the most comprehensive being a list developed by Ottawa researcher Maryanne Pearce, which she made public in 2013 when she published her doctoral thesis in law entitled An Awkward Silence: Missing and Murdered Vulnerable Women and the Canadian Justice System.

That list included missing and murdered women of all ethnicities over approximately four decades. 

She continued to update the list for a forthcoming book with University of Manitoba Press and shared an updated list of unsolved cases involving missing and murdered indigenous women with the CBC in December 2014. The CBC then began assessing the cases and trying to find and interview as many family members as possible.

Through checks with police, families, community leaders, organizations and public sources, CBC News came up with about 230 confirmed cases of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. More than 110 families have been interviewed about the cases so far.

Those interviews allowed CBC to compile data on many of the cases, including the community each woman is from, where she was slain or went missing, how the family feels about the efficacy of the police investigations and other factors.

In a handful of cases involving deaths, police have either closed investigations or concluded there is not enough evidence to know whether a murder took place. 

We have included these instances only when family members told us they still believed foul play was a possibility.

The project is ongoing. CBC calls on anyone with information about these cases, as well as family members who have so far not been interviewed, to contact us as mmiw@cbc.ca.

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