Crown wants to hang on to possible 'real evidence' in Jennifer Hillier-Penney case

The investigation into the disappearance of Jennifer Hillier-Penney is headed to court.

Matter goes before Supreme Court in Corner Brook, N.L., on Thursday

Jennifer Hillier-Penney was last seen on Nov. 30, 2016. No charges have ever been laid in connection with her disappearance, but it is considered suspicious. (Submitted)

The investigation into the disappearance of Jennifer Hillier-Penney is headed to court, as the Crown seeks to continue holding onto items it calls "potentially real reliable evidence" in the case.

Family and friends of Hillier-Penney held a walk through St. Anthony, on Newfoundland's Northern Peninsula, on Dec. 1 to commemorate two years since the mother of two vanished without a trace from the home of her estranged husband, Dean Penney.

No charges have ever been laid, but court applications dated Dec. 5, 2018, show that in the days following her 2016 disappearance, RCMP seized a number of items in its investigation

Those items came from three places: a cabin used by the former couple, a vehicle, and the family home — which Hillier-Penney had moved out of — in St. Anthony.

Yvonne Hillier-Decker wipes away tears during the Dec. 1 walk in St. Anthony, on Newfoundland's Northern Peninsula, to mark her sister's disappearance. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

On Thursday in Supreme Court in Corner Brook, the Crown will go before a judge and ask to continue to hold on to all of those items, which are identified only by alphanumeric tags.

Those items were initially seized for three months, but the Crown has already been granted several extensions.

"The investigation in relation to the disappearance of Jennifer Hillier-Penney is ongoing on a continual and daily basis," state the documents.

Forensic testing

Some of the items seized have been sent to the RCMP's national forensic laboratory in Ottawa. The item from the cabin sent to the laboratory has been deemed to have possible "evidentiary value," according to the court documents.

Other items from the cabin are still awaiting forensic testing.

Continuing to hang onto all the items "is required for the purpose of the ongoing investigation, and production at any future criminal proceedings," said RCMP Const. Christopher Pittman, in sworn affidavits.

The Fifth Estate aired a two-part investigation into Hillier-Penney's disappearance on CBC Television in October. Prior to its airing, the Supreme Court granted a publication ban prohibiting media from publishing if the RCMP has identified anyone involved in Hillier-Penney's "disappearance, alleged kidnapping and murder."

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