It’s been 21 years since Lisa Marie Young went missing, precisely the age she was when she was last seen in the early morning of June 30, 2002 in Nanaimo.
Since 2003, Lisa Marie Young’s family, friends, and community members have gathered for an annual walk to honour her memory as they search for answers. On the morning of Sunday, June 25, they gathered, once again, meeting outside of the Nanaimo RCMP detachment.
As the crowd walked together, Lisa Marie Young signs were held above, walking to Maffeo Sutton Park to meet at Nanaimo’s Lion Pavilion. Red dresses danced in the wind, as Lisa’s family, friends, and community members spoke in honour of the Tla-o-qui-aht woman and in search of answers.
Inspired by Lisa Marie Young’s love for music, local artists performed songs throughout the day.
“Every year we do a walk and a gathering in honour of Lisa, and her mom, so nobody will forget,” said Carol Frank, Lisa Marie Young’s aunt. “People that don’t know her story will learn something today too. It’s really important.”
“It’s really uplifting and brings us strength,” said Frank when seeing the community gather. “There’s a lot of people that I’ve gotten to know over the years and so each year they come in support of Lisa.”
“We all just want answers and to bring Lisa home,” she added.
According to the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Lisa Marie Young was last seen getting into a vehicle with a man who drove a burgundy Jaguar car who offered her a ride to get food and agreed to return her.
The last text message Lisa sent read, “Come get me. They won’t let me leave.”
Lisa Marie Young’s disappearance continues to be investigated and is being treated as a homicide, reads a Nanaimo RCMP statement.
Cyndy Hall, friend of Lisa Marie Young, started advocating for Lisa when her mom, Marlene Joanne Martin Young, passed away.
“It makes me so happy because there's such a huge turnout,” said Hall. “It just shows that it's not just Lisa's loved ones that want her to come home, it's the community.”
Hall said it would mean the world to her, Lisa’s family, and friends if they found her.
“Of course we want justice, but first off, we want Lisa to come home because Lisa is all alone and she died alone. So now it's time we bring her home,” said Hall.
At the event, Nanaimo mayor Leonard Krog read a proclamation that declared June 25th, 2023 Justice for Lisa Marie Young Day and June 30, 2023 Lights on for Lisa.
Lights on for Lisa encourages people to “leave their patio lights on in support of the day she was reported missing,” shared Krog.
“The longer without Lisa, the harder it is,” said Hall.
“Since the night Lisa disappeared, 21 years looks like 252 months, 7,665 days, 183,960 hours, or 11,037,600 minutes,” said Carolann Bora, sister of Lisa Marie Young. “All of these separately are equivalent to 21 years and show how long Lisa’s loved ones have been in a state of grief and loss.”
“Without the support there's a real possibility that Lisa’s case would fade, making it less likely for loved ones [to have] closure and/or justice,” said Bora.
“Over the years, investigators have received hundreds of tips, have interviewed as many people, conducted numerous searches, and have diligently followed up on old and new information,” said Reserve Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP in a statement.
“If you have information that you have never shared with police, now is the time to do so. It’s never too late,” said O’Brian.
Information can be reported with Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.