Friends fear for Manitoba woman missing for 8 months
Anna Marquart left Old Order Mennonite community in 2013, alleging abuse
Anna Marquart hasn't been seen or heard from in eight months, and her friends are worried.
Manitoba RCMP put out a missing person's bulletin Tuesday, seeking the public's help in finding Marquart, 31.
She hasn't been seen since July 4, 2020, when she left her home near Glenboro, about 160 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg.
"We've been quite concerned, and they've certainly been in my prayers," said Hilda Dueck, a friend of Marquart.
RCMP investigators have spent the last couple of weeks speaking to friends and family and looking into Marquart's personal financial records and communications, hoping to learn whether someone other than her family members has had contact with her.
Dueck found out Marquart was missing last week, when another friend called to see if she knew of Marquart's whereabouts.
"We haven't been in contact with them for a number of years," Dueck said, and she has no idea where Marquart may be.
Anna and Emma Bauman left Manitoba's only Old Order Mennonite community in 2013.
Anna married Herb Marquart, a non-Mennonite man whom she met when he occasionally did business with community members.
Emma moved in with them, living in a tiny house on an acreage in the woods. She also changed her last name to Marquart, saying she didn't want to be associated with her family and community in any way.
Soon after, the sisters went to RCMP and CBC News, alleging decades of sexual abuse and being sold for sex by family and community members.
No charges were ever laid in that investigation.
The sisters told CBC News they were being spied on and harassed by community members who wanted them to return. No one from the community would ever comment on the allegations.
Herb Marquart was no longer welcome in the Old Order Mennonite community after he and the sisters had helped a teenage boy run away from his foster home and return to his parents.
He pleaded guilty to abducting a person under 14 and a Child and Family Services Act charge and was sentenced to jail and probation.
The sisters were sent by the court to live with Dueck and her husband. Months later, the sisters pleaded guilty to a Child and Family Services Act offence and were each handed a suspended sentence of 18 months probation. A number of other charges were stayed.
Marquart and Anna married after he was released from jail.
Dueck said they started to drift apart after Anna and Emma moved in with Marquart, who was on unsupervised probation for two years.
"Their world became smaller and smaller and everybody was in their paranoid field of vision," she said.
"Until then, we had spent a lot of time with them and had helped them financially and with groceries and you name it."
Another friend, Levi Waldner, said he also used to drop in regularly to visit the Marquarts, but he hasn't seen any of them for more than a year.
Waldner said they disconnected their phone and wouldn't allow anyone onto the yard, which is protected by a gate and a vicious dog.
"I have been [concerned] but you can't get in there to see what's going on," he said. "I passed by last week and there's horses in there, so somebody must be feeding them."
RCMP officers have been to the Marquart property but Manitoba RCMP media relations officer Tara Seel wouldn't say if Herb and Emma are suspects.
"I want to stress that this is a missing person investigation, and while nothing is off the table at this stage, we are not going to foul play at this point. [Anna] is still considered missing," Seel said.
Anyone with information about Anna Marquart is being urged to call Blue Hills RCMP at 204-726-7519, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477, or provide a secure tip online at manitobacrimestoppers.com.
- We initially reported that the sisters' charges were dropped. In fact, they confessed to their role in helping the teen run away and were each handed a suspended sentence of 18 months probation.Feb 24, 2021 10:36 AM CT