Saskatoon

'164 days without our beautiful Ash': Family of missing Sask. woman renews call for info

Ashley Morin, 31, disappeared from North Battleford on July 10.

Ashley Morin, 31, disappeared from North Battleford on July 10

FSIN Vice Chief Heather Bear consoles Diane Morin, the mother of Ashley Morin, a woman who went missing in North Battleford last July. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

Ashley Morin's family says she's normally not the talkative type, but her latest silence has gone on far too long.

Morin, 31, was last seen in North Battleford on July 10. She has not used social media or her bank account since then, according to the RCMP, and her family has yet to receive any credible info about her whereabouts.

"Today marks 164 days," said family spokesperson Krista Fox on Thursday. "Close your eyes and listen to that again please. One-hundred sixty-four days without our beautiful Ash. No calls. No texts. No visits. No beautiful smile. Nothing."

Fox spoke from the Saskatoon boardroom of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN).

"The reason we're here today is to keep Ashley's face out there," said Fox.

"We will not celebrate," she said of the holiday season. "We will not rejoice. We will be sad and lonely. This holiday season — nothing is the same without you."

Fox was surrounded by more than a dozen of Morin's family members and friends, including Morin's mother Diane and grandmother Sylvie Arcand. The family is from Ahtahkakoop First Nation.

All wore green and black hoodies bearing images of the black-haired, brown-eyed Morin and the hashtag #BringAshHome. Green and black were Morin's colours, said Eugene Arcand, a former FSIN executive and Morin's uncle.

Morin's family and friends gathered at FSIN's office Thursday. They all wore black and green - Morin's colours. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

"She lit up a room," said Arcand of Morin. "Even though Ashley didn't speak very much, you always felt her kind presence."

Saskatchewan RCMP's northern Major Crimes unit is investigating Morin's disappearance, which is considered suspicious given her silence. The RCMP's last release on Morin, back in September, said she might be in Edmonton or Lloydminster.

Grassroots efforts

Morin's family and FSIN Vice Chief Heather Bear urged anyone who knows anything to come forward.They also spoke about the family's grassroots efforts to find Morin.

After being invited by the City of Saskatoon to a recent Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) round dance, the family met with members of the Saskatoon-based Okihtcitawak Patrol Group (OPG).

The group normally patrols the city streets for signs of vulnerable children, but OPG joined Morin's family for some searches in North Battleford, said Fox.

"Dozens" of searches have taken place, she said.

"We get somebody who sends us message saying, 'Oh, I heard she was here,' and we gather as many as we can immediately and go out to those places."

Afraid to speak

Bear said some people might not come forward to police because they have their own legal troubles. She called on those people reach out to the family or Crimestoppers.

"We need to look after one another," said Bear. "We need to work together to put an end to this violence, to put an end to this suffering."

Morin has long black hair, brown eyes and was last seen wearing grey sweat pants, a black t-shirt with white writing on it, a black hat and sunglasses.

RCMP released a statement about Morin's case Friday.

"The investigation into Ashley Morin's disappearance remains ongoing. Major Crimes Unit North and North Battleford RCMP remain committed to making every effort to locate Ms. Morin," it said.

"Investigators have received numerous tips and continue to follow-up on all leads. There has been continuous activity on this investigation since she was reported missing to police on July 22nd of this year."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Battlefords RCMP at 306-446-1720, RCMP Major Crime Unit North at 306-975-5153 or Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Some of those gathered had posters expressing support. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Guy Quenneville

Reporter at CBC Saskatoon

Story tips? guy.quenneville@cbc.ca

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