Manitoba

Vigil honours Claudette Osborne, mother of 4 who went missing in 2008

Holding candles in the cold, family, friends and community members gathered on Sunday evening to honour Claudette Osborne, a 21-year-old mother of four who disappeared in Winnipeg more than seven years ago.

'Her kids have grown up without her,' Osborne's sister, Bernadette Smith, told the crowd

Claudette Osborne was 21 years old when she went missing in July 2008. (CBC)

Holding candles in the cold, family, friends and community members gathered on Sunday evening to honour Claudette Osborne, a 21-year-old mother of four who disappeared in Winnipeg more than seven years ago.

They stood on Selkirk Avenue at King Street, the last place Osborne is believed to have been before she vanished on July 24, 2008.

"Her kids have grown up without her," Osborne's sister, Bernadette Smith, told the crowd.

"A piece of our heart is missing. A part of our family."

Osborne's fiancé, Matt Bushby, said it's been a long seven and a half years without her.

"When [our son] says he wants to be a pilot so he can fly over the bush and looks for his mom, that just breaks me up," he said, tears coming to his eyes.

"Our kids need answers. Claudette's kids, my kids they need to know what happened to their mom."

Traditional drums were used to play an honour song for Osborne and the rest of Canada's more than 1,100 missing and murdered indigenous girls and women.

Smith told those on the crowd who lit candles that they could take them home, light them again and think of all those who have disappeared.

At the vigil for Osborne, her sister spoke about more than 1,100 indigenous girls and women who have disappeared or been murdered in Canada. (CBC)

Nahanni Fontaine, the Manitoba government special advisor on indigenous women's issues, spoke up at the vigil with a message for Bushby and Osborne's mother, Brenda Osborne.

"I don't think you guys realize the support when you're honouring Claudette, the support that you then give to other families just by virtue of you walking," she said, referring to Brenda Osborne's walk from Manitoba's Norway House to Winnipeg to raise awareness about her daughter's disappearance.

While Smith said the disappearance is tough for the family, she said they will never give up.

"We're not going to ever give up until she's brought home and we want to keep this, too, on the conscience of whoever's responsible," she said.

Posters of Osborne are put up at Selkirk Avenue and King Street following the vigil each year, but Smith said they rarely stay up.

"We've often wondered if somebody in this community knows something and when they walk by and they see that it's a reminder for them that they don't want to remember so they just take it down so they don't have to see it," she said, noting Osborne would have never simply abandoned her family and ran away.

"If someone's taken her, they've taken her against her will."

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