Brenda Osborne walks down Selkirk Avenue in Winnipeg’s North End and lovingly touches the worn, hand-made signs bearing the picture of her daughter Claudette Osborne-Tyo who went missing 12 years ago.
“Twelve years, no answer, no tips, no links, nothing. We just wait every day,” she said.
On Saturday night, Osborne held a vigil at the spot where her daughter was last seen — the corner of Selkirk Avenue and King Street and opened the ceremony with drumming, an honour song and smudging.
They’ve done this annually for the last 10 years.
“We want to do this every year to put the word out there that she’s not forgotten and we think about her every day,” Osborne says.
She says the youngest of Claudette’s four children is now 12 — just days old when her mother went missing.
“It’s for them that we do this. We just want to give them hope and that we’re not giving up,” Osborne says.
“Most of all we want [Claudette] home.”
After family members spoke, Claudette’s daughters released 12 red balloons to mark the number of years she’s been gone.
Claudette was last seen at Winnipeg’s Lincoln Motor Hotel, now renamed as the Four Crowns Inn, on McPhillips Street.
After leaving the hotel on a mid-summer night, she made numerous calls on pay phones before placing her last call on one that used to be located at the Selkirk Street intersection, about a block away from Main Street.
No one has seen or heard from her since then.
Her sister, Bernadette Smith, who is also the MLA for Point Douglas, says she feels deep anger at the lack of political will to address the ongoing tragedy and wonders if the recommendations made by the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry will ever be realized.
“It just makes me so angry. I have to worry about my grandchildren, my granddaughters going out, my daughter going out. We shouldn’t have to worry about our kids and the violence that’s happening,” she said at the vigil.
“Our family will never stop searching for her, for answers and for justice.”