From mistrust to gratitude: Karina Wolfe's mother thanks police for help

MMIWG witness Carol Wolfe says the Saskatoon Police Service helped her through her daughter Karina's disappearance.

Carol Wolfe says Saskatoon police helped her through her daughter Karina's disappearance

Family and friends kept her name in the news after Karina Wolfe went missing. (CBC)

At first, in the early days of her daughter Karina's disappearance, Carol Wolfe didn't trust the police.

She found it tough to get answers to her questions — partly due to her deafness — and her first interview with the Saskatoon Police Service left her feeling guilty.

"Like I did something wrong," said Wolfe.

But on Thursday — two years after Karina's body was found near the Saskatoon airport — Wolfe told the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women inquiry that the police eventually became a crucial source of support.

"They were the voice for my daughter," she said of the police plus victims services and other women who walked in search of Karina.

Grassroots efforts

Wolfe's testimony has stood out among other MMIW statements that have been critical of the police for its handling of cases.

Karina Wolfe went missing in 2010. Her body was found in 2015. (Saskatoon Police)

She personally cited several law enforcement members — including retired Saskatoon police chief Clive Weighill — for their support.

But Wolfe also highlighted how crucial her own grassroots efforts were to keeping her daughter's case alive — everything from candle-lit vigils to steak nights.

"I fundraised and asked people for donations to help me keep her story in the media," she said. "I asked for help for everyone to be able to pay for posters and a billboard.

"Baking cookies for a sale, I wished I was baking for Karina to eat and not for money to help find her."

Wolfe said her initial distrust also extended to Dorothea Swiftwolfe, a missing persons liaison officer for the Saskatoon Police Service, but that Swiftwolfe's persistence eventually lead Wolfe to trust her.

Carol Wolfe, left, the mother of murdered Saskatoon Indigenous woman Karina Wolfe, testifies using sign language Thursday at the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women inquiry in Saskatoon. (CBC)

Swiftwolfe, in her own testimony, says she and Wolfe and others worked extremely hard to keep Karina's story in the public eye.

Thursday was the last day of testimonies for the inquiry's visit to Saskatoon this week.

with files from Charles Hamilton