Toronto

'We need our girl back.' Family of missing woman pleads for information

The family of Tess Richey is looking for its “number five” after the young woman disappeared early Saturday morning and hasn’t been heard from since.

Tess Richey, 22, was last seen early Saturday morning in the Church and Wellesley area

Tess Richey is seen in this undated photo provided by her sister, Rachel. (Rachel Richey)

The family of Tess Richey is looking for its "number five" after the young woman disappeared early Saturday morning and hasn't been heard from since.

Richey, 22, was last seen in the Church and Wellesley area around 3 a.m. Saturday during a night out with an old friend from high school.

Richey's distraught family, which includes four other sisters and their mother, were desperate for information late Monday about what happened to the "baby" of the family.

"We just need the number five back," her sister, Jenna Richey, told CBC Toronto.

"We need our girl back."

Rachel Richey said her sister left her house, which is not far from the Church Street strip, around 11:30 p.m. Friday and headed out for the night.

Rachel messaged Tess around 8:45 a.m. Saturday, but didn't hear back. While Rachel thought that was strange, she figured her sister was sleeping.

"I tried consistently throughout the day and it wasn't until 6 or 7 o'clock that I realized that she hadn't answered any of the text messages and they actually hadn't been delivered. When I tried calling it went straight to voice mail," Rachel said.

"It was after that that I started panicking and calling hospitals and the police."

She thought her sister has perhaps been arrested or "thrown in the drunk tank," because Tess is always in contact with her family.

"We're a very close-knit family and we always talk to each other daily," she said. "We're best friends. Even if she wouldn't talk to me she would talk to my mom."

Rachel Richey said it's out of character for her sister to be out of touch with her family. (John Sandeman/CBC)

Ryley Simard said she and Tess, friends in high school back in North Bay, had not seen each other in two-and-a-half years, but talked on Thursday and made plans for the next night. The pair went to Crews & Tango, a drag bar on Church Street.

'Why'

They left sometime after 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Simard said, and they'd had a lot to drink. They walked to a home on nearby Dundonald Street, where they hung out on the porch with the woman who lives there and another, unidentified, man.

Simard did not remember how they met the woman or man.

Simard said she got a text from her boyfriend around 4 a.m. asking where she was and asking her to come home. She walked south to get on the College streetcar.

Her last memory of Tess is seeing her outside the home. It wasn't clear why police said Richey was last seen at 3 a.m., but Simard said she left the group at 4.

"It was all fun. We hadn't seen each other for two-and-a-half years and this happens that one night," Simard told CBC Toronto.

"It's almost like a WTF moment in the making. Why?"

Simard has told her story about what happened that night to police a couple of times, she said. She hopes that investigators will be able to piece together what happened via security camera footage from the bar, the TTC and other locations.

'We will give up everything'

Tess's family said the last contact they had with her was an update at 3 a.m. from her FitBit, which marked her step count, and then a series of 4 a.m. messages from Uber to their mother's phone, which suggested she had ordered a ride but then it was cancelled. It was unclear whether Tess or the driver cancelled the trip.

Tess's Uber account was set up with her mother's credit card.

Tess's family also expressed concern Monday that their little sister was left alone in the company of strangers when she was drunk. While she is a runner and fit, she is only about 115 pounds, they said, and petite. The sisters and their mother all knew to go out in groups and stay with friends for safety, Jenna Richey said.

"We know that we have to do everything to keep ourselves safe because it will destroy us. It will ruin us," she said through tears.

Tess was working at a coffee bar near Front and Spadina, Rachel said, noting she has called friends, exes and others to try to find her sister. The family has also searched Tess's apartment, but without turning up any clues.

The sisters note that her birthday is coming up on Thursday.

"We will give up everything we own, everything we have, to get this girl back," Jenna Richey said.

Police say Tess Richey is 5'2" with a thin build, dark-brown eyes and dark-brown wavy hair. She was last seen wearing a green army-style jacket with zippers, black leggings and black over-the-knee heeled boots, and was carrying a multi-coloured Roots bag.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 416-808-4100 or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS. 

Tess Richey is an avid runner who had completed several marathons, her sisters said. (Courtesy of Rachel Richey)

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