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Since 1979 • October 2020 • Circulation 5500

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Murders and Memorials

Finding strength to carry on.

Drummers at Amber Tuccaro’s “Angelversary” on August 18th. Paula E. Kirman

The big drum encircled by men singing called people to gather at Okîsikow (Angel) Way, the juncture of 96 Street and Jasper Avenue. April Eve Wiberg, leader of the Stolen Sisters and Brothers Movement, organized an “Angelversary” to mark 10 years since 21 year-old Amber Tuccaro disappeared on August 18th, 2010. When her remains were found two years later in Leduc County, her family experienced a fresh wave of grief. In 2015, RCMP released an audio recording and grief ripped their hearts again. They could hear Amber asking a man where he was taking her.

Ten years later, and the man who murdered her has not yet been found. Amber’s mother, Tootsie, told the crowd she would never give up, until her daughter’s killer is found.

Kathy King’s 22 year-old daughter, Cara, disappeared in early August of 1997. Her remains were found in a farmer’s field a month later. Her killer has not yet been found. To remember her and all those who are missing and murdered, Kathy created a website she called MissingCara.ca. She tells her daughter’s story and the seasons of her own life. Kathy has documented the names of hundreds of murdered women, men, and LGBTQ2s+ persons. She has summarized the 213 Calls to Justice from the Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Women.

Lisa Arsenault, 48, was murdered on May 24, 2020, the day before the launch of Edmonton’s 16th Sexual Exploitation Awareness Week. Her family, too, has spoken publicly about their grief and hope that the killer would be found. He was, thanks to video surveillance at the south side hotel where her body was found. Ian Stewart Gainer, a 32 year-old man from Camrose, was charged with first degree murder on August 21st. Lisa’s sister and sons expressed their great relief, although they will experience grief anew when the public trial begins.

CEASE keeps a sad list of sexually exploited persons murdered in the Edmonton area. That list stands at 44 since 1983 and only 13 have been solved. Behind every name on this list, families and communities grieve for these individuals. CEASE hosts an Annual Memorial on August 14 to remember all those whose lives are stolen, whether through murder, suicide, addictions, or illness. Memorials help those who grieve know they are not alone. Memorials are a drumbeat, calling for action.

Kate is the Executive Director of the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE).

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