The night before Angeline Pete vanished, the young aboriginal woman was assaulted, family members say.
Now, shortly after locating and questioning the man who allegedly beat her, the North Vancouver RCMP have issued a statement saying the missing woman’s case has been turned over to the serious crime unit.
“With Angeline, it’s at the point where the general duty guys have exhausted all the leads,” RCMP Corporal Richard De Jong said, explaining why the file had been passed to a different police branch. “We’re looking at all angles. All possibilities.”
Cpl. De Jong declined to either confirm or deny a family allegation that Ms. Pete, 28, a single mother, had been beaten the night before she disappeared. He said police are still hoping they can locate her alive and well, but concerns have been heightened by her long absence, the fact she has not contacted family or friends, and a lack of activity in her financial accounts.
“Pete was last seen in May of 2011 and was reported missing to police by her family,” Cpl. De Jong said in a written statement released Monday. “All efforts to locate her have proven negative. Investigation conducted thus far has concluded that Pete has not made any contact with her close family or friends … [and]has not accessed any of her personal social media websites or her financial accounts since her disappearance.”
The statement says Ms. Pete, who grew up in the small Vancouver Island town of Quatsino, “may have hitch hiked her way north thru the province and possibly into Alberta but investigators have not yet been able to corroborate this information.”
The RCMP urge anyone who may have information about her to call police.
Included in the RCMP release was a brief statement from Ms. Pete’s mother. “I am reaching out to anybody who knows my daughter for her safe return home. We just need to know that you are safe and sound and well looked after. Please call home. We love you Princess,” said Ms. Pete’s mother, whose name was not given.
Similar pleas are found on a Facebook page set up by friends to gather information about the missing woman, including numerous postings by Molly Dixon, her biological mother. “Come home my princess I love u an miss u very much my heart aches 4 ur safety return,” says one recent note posted by Ms. Dixon, who could not be reached for comment.
Cary-Lee Calder, Ms. Pete’s aunt, said her niece worked for carnivals and travelled freely, but it was not like her to be out of touch. “She texted us daily, and she was a Facebook fanatic” who frequently made new postings, Ms. Calder said.
She said family members are aware that Ms. Pete “had her lip split open” when she was hit by a man the night before she was last seen by friends. Ms. Calder said police had been unable to locate the man until recently. “He was in for questioning. … I don’t know if he is still a person of interest or what,” she said.
Ms. Calder said Ms. Pete was raised by her family since she was four years old.
“It has been a struggle,” she said of how the family has been dealing with Ms. Pete’s disappearance.
Ms. Calder said Ms. Pete has a seven-year-old son. She grew up mostly in Quatsino, where she had a house on the reserve until last year, when she moved to North Vancouver. She said she was a free spirit “but never a druggie,” and remained in close contact with her family.
“She’s always been family oriented and is really loved by her family,” Ms. Calder said.