Indigenous

Family, friends search for Megan Gallagher, missing over a month in Saskatoon

Megan Gallagher was last seen Saturday, Sept. 19, when she left the residence of a friend in Saskatoon's west end. 

'I am very much feeling lost,' says 30-year-old woman's father

Megan Gallagher, 30, was last seen in Saskatoon on Sept 19, 2020. (Brian Gallagher/Facebook)

It's been over a month since family or friends have heard from Megan Gallagher; for weeks her social media accounts have sat idle as everyone who knows her waits for a call or a message. 

"Personally, I am very much feeling lost," said Megan's father, Brian Gallagher.

"It's hard to focus on anything at any given point of the day, other than where your daughter is at."

The last time he saw Megan Gallagher, 30, was on Friday, Sept. 18, when she spent the day at the family's farm just outside of Saskatoon. Her last known sighting was Saturday, Sept. 19, when she left the residence of a friend in Saskatoon's west end. 

A missing person report was filed on Sept. 30 with the Saskatoon Police Service.

Megan Gallagher is described as five feet 10 inches tall, with brown hair, brown eyes and weighing approximately 180 pounds. 

Brian Gallagher said it is unlike his daughter to be without contact to either family or friends for so long. The mother of one just recently finished a culinary course and is aspiring to be a chef. 

"It is an unexplainable feeling," he said.

"You see other people with their [missing persons] posts and you empathize with them but to actually experience it with your own family is something I can't explain."

Megan Gallagher also has ties to the communities of Île-à-la-Crosse and Cumberland House that are also being investigated.

Friends and family of Megan Gallagher have been putting up posters in Saskatoon in hopes someone will contact them or police with information about Gallagher's location. (Jennifer Geens/CBC)

'Don't give up hope'

There are currently over 133 missing persons cases within Saskatchewan according to the Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police website. The reports also state 45 per cent of those are of Indigenous ancestry. Indigenous people make up 16 per cent of Saskatchewan's population, according to the 2016 census.

According to RCMP, 70,000-80,000 people are reported missing each year across Canada, with most being located within seven days though many cases remain open throughout the years. 

Ashley Morin, a 31-year-old Cree woman from the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, has been missing over two years. She was last seen in North Battleford, Sask., about 130 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon, in the summer of 2018.

Her family has been holding annual awareness walks within the province, to keep Morin's story in the minds of people. 

"You have to keep them out in the forefront," said Krista Fox, a family representative.

"Just keep knocking on doors, keep her name and her face out there."

Ashley Morin was last seen in North Battleford, Sask., on July 10, 2018. (Submitted by the RCMP)

They hope that all the awareness will jog someone's memory. 

"My biggest message to all families is don't give up hope," she said.

"You have to hold on to that and you have to keep plugging away; you have to keep pounding those streets."

Fox said over the years they have connected with other families of missing persons and leaned on each other for support. 

"Being able to talk to someone who is going through the same thing helps families keep the momentum going."

Both Brian Gallagher and Fox credited the use of social media as a way to reach a larger audience in a short amount of time.

After posting a video of media coverage about his daughter, his post had 20,000 views in 24 hours.

"The best strategy we can have is keep sharing the information because somebody somewhere might have information that can lead us to where Megan is." 

Other family members from all over Saskatchewan have been canvassing Saskatoon, posting posters and keeping the search going daily since the beginning of the month. 

Families of both women ask anyone with information to contact the Saskatoon Police Service at 306-975-8300 or RCMP at 1-800-803-7267.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Penny Smoke

Journalist

Penny Smoke was born and raised in Saskatchewan. She is of Cree and Saulteax decent from the Treaty 4 area. Penny has worked as a producer with The Afternoon Edition, The Storytelling Project and is currently working with CBC Indigenous. In 2019 Penny was the recipient of the Adrienne Clarkson Diversity Award, both regionally and nationally.

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