Amber Jaffary: What we know so far

The circumstances around Amber’s disappearance are confusing and, as usual, scarce. Where there is more information available to sources are unreliable and unsubstantiated. I have complied the below facts from the sparse media coverage of her disappearance and the active forum on Unsolved Canada. Please keep in mind that we are trying to substantiate many of the claims made on the forum if you have information or corrections please contact us.

According to a forum post:

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National Missing Children's Day

Today at the Missed Lives Project we are thinking of the young people and children featured on our site and the many, many others who are or have been missing. Please take a moment in your day to look at the pictures of these 5 young individuals who are missing, and let local law enforcement know if you remember anything about them, or the time of their disappearance:

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Amanda Rudge: What we know so far

Rudge was last seen August 1991 (at the age of 27) at her residence on Enfield Place, Mississauga by her mother (see map below). 

There is speculation that she has connections to the United States. She reportedly frequented the Bloor and Landsdowne area of Toronto which at the time was a dangerous and crime-ridden area.

Beyond this information, our preliminary searches have yet to turn up extra information. There are no newspaper articles, no police press releases, or extra photographs of her. This, of course, only makes us more determined.

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Marjorie Amy Ferris: what we know so far

Marjorie Amy Ferris, 5'4", born April 12, 1922, has been missing since March 5, 1993 from 5166 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario. She is white, with dark brown, wavy, collar-length hair, blue eyes, and wears glasses and has dentures. She was last seen in grey slacks, a sweatshirt, a dark green ski jacket with red/orange and black walking boots.

She was noticed missing when she didn't arrive to visit her friends in London, Ontario to drive to Florida.

When police checked her apartment is was secure with her keys, purse, wallet, chequebook and some cash. Her car was found in her parking spot in the underground garage.

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Hamilton's serial predators and Project Advocate

Project Advocate was a special joint task force between the Hamilton and Halton police departments which formed in 2003. Project Advocate was originally formed to investigate a series of violent sexual assaults on sex workers, the murder of Kimlyn Judy Tolgyes and the disappearances of Susan Gourley and Felicia Floriani. Floriani’s remains were found in 2012 in a farmer’s field in West Lincoln, Ontario. Gourley is missing, presumed dead.

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An Eerie Similarity

Today as the details of Rose Mary Friday's disappearance were being entered onto the site we were struck by an eerie similarity between her and the found, unidentified Halton Region Woman.

Friday went missing in June of 1974, though was not reported missing until October when her husband remarried and his new wife grew suspicious of Rose Mary's sudden absence (we haven't yet determined how he was remarried without a divorce or death certificate for Friday, but we will find out).

Four years after her disappearance, a woman's skeleton was found 30 minutes away from Brampton (Friday's city). 

It's important to note that the likelihood of there being a positive match is very low. Having said that, here are the similarities/differences:

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The context of Susan Gourley's disappearance

The last confirmed sighting of Susan Gourley was November 21, 2001. She was reported missing by her mother February 28, 2002 (according to the RCMP), and by her family August 31, 2002 (according to the Hamilton police). 

Regardless of the precise date, Gourley disappeared amidst a period of extreme violence against women in Hamilton, including at least 10 other assaults, murders and violent altercations during the span of a year.

It has not been proven that all of these instances are linked to the same person (nor are they likely all the same person), but it's undeniable that the ongoing epidemic of violence against women (especially sex workers) was, and remains, rampant in Hamilton.

Below is a timeline of the events surrounding Gourley's disappearance.

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Halton Woman's news coverage, 1978

The original article about the still-unidentified woman found in Halton gives some extra detail to the case. Two key facts mentioned in the story that aren't in later police missing persons listings are: a) that the Halton Woman was found badly decomposed (which means she may have been there for a long time), b) that no foul play was suspected (this may have changed in the pathologist's report, but it is unavailable).

Once these files are attained it will be interesting to see what the pathologist ruled as time and cause of death. It could help in finding her friends and loved ones with a more precise timeline. 

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Early days of Sheryl Sheppard's disappearance

Sheryl Sheppard was last in contact with loved ones January 2, 1998, and was officially reported missing January 4. It was January 7 when it hit newspapers.

Media coverage was delivered with a dramatic arc, starting with "Police scour waste station for missing exotic dancer," (view original article and transcript here), though later Sheppard's friends reported she hadn't been working as a dancer for some time. 

Disturbing to the unfolding events was the police's need to talk with Sheppard's fiancée Michael Lavoie who was evasive. The next day of coverage, "Mystery of kissing couple," (view original article and transcript here) revealed that although Lavoie agreed to meet with police, the next day he didn't arrive for questioning. He was later found in a storage garage with the car running.

Sheppard's coverage continues to a front-page story on January 9, 1998. The article "A mother's anguish" (view original article and transcript here) interviews Sheppard's friends and family, giving insight to her life, and describing her as reliable, friendly, and outgoing. It also continues to raise questions about Lavoie who, reporter Denise Davy notes, was not approved of by friends and family. Some even describe their relationship as tumultous, noting that they fought often.

Davy continues to raise questions about Lavoie. Although he alleges he last saw Sheppard as he dropped her off to work at a hotel in Niagara Falls to work, the manager of that hotel had never employed her.

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Woman still unidentified after 40 years

This case isn't listed on Hamilton Police's website, I found out about her here, actually. 

The surprising thing for me about this woman is that she doesn't fit the bill of 'ignorable cases'--she was married, had nice clothing, jewelry with distinct markings and yet her identity is still a mystery. I find it odd, too, that I can't find any coverage on her regionally. Hopefully we can attain some photographs of her clothing and personal items to make it easier for someone to recognize and identify her.

Below is a map of the general region she was found. 

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Ideal next steps for the Halton Region Woman, found 1978

The more I look at the file on this found, unidentified woman, the more I am convinced that this project needs to exist. The RCMP listing gives a single, almost indistinguishable, black and white photograph of a scrap of clothing to help the public identify this woman. Keep in mind that they list some very unique clothing, such as a "green, yellow...pink and orange floral pattern" homemade jacket. 

Given the volume of evidence found, the ideal next steps would be to take photographs of her clothing. The RCMP report also mentions some very distinguishing features such as missing teeth and "severe osteoarthritis [in her] lower thoracic and lumbar" areas, resulting in high levels of pain. Moreover, (and especially considering there are some talented artists on the internet already doing this in their spare time), confirm whether an artist rendering could be done of her face to approximate her appearance.

After that, it would be a matter of distribution. Social media may not be the best way to go since she was found so long ago (1978) (her relatives and loved ones may not be the Twitter and Facebook types), but perhaps newspaper coverage could really help disseminate some new information about her.

I'll be contacting the RCMP, and will let you know how it unfolds.

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