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15 years since woman disappeared near Hinton


September 2, 2021
By Canadian Press

Sept. 2, 2021 – On Aug. 26, 2006, Stephanie Stewart went missing.

Stewart was working at a wildlife lookout tower, monitoring for any possible wildfires near Hinton.

When Stewart didn’t respond at an early morning radio check, co-workers contacted local police to report her missing.

After officers ruled out Stewart being a victim of an animal attack, Major Crime along with forensic investigators determined her disappearance as suspicious.

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Alberta RCMP’s Historical Homicide Unit (HHU) continues to work on this investigation in co-operation with Alberta Agricultural and Forestry as well as Search and Rescue in hopes of locating Stewart.

Along with Stewart’s suspicious disappearance, investigators from the RCMP “K” Division’s HHU are also continuing to investigate two others who were reported missing but are believed to be possible victims of homicide.

Shelly Ann Bacsu was 16 years old when she went missing on May 3, 1983.

Bacsu did not come home from her friend’s house that she had walked to and from many times previously.

After failing to get in contact with her after 11:30 p.m., family members reported her missing.

After extensive searches, RCMP located Bacsu’s belongings by the Athabasca River near Hinton.

Bacsu is believed to have been killed and police continue to search for her remains.

Deanna MacNell had a usual habit of contacting her friend several times a day. After 48 hours of no contact, Vegreville RCMP were called with a missing persons report on Nov. 30, 2013.

Two extensive searches in the town of Mundare were conducted along with several others but could not locate MacNell.

Family and friends have had zero contact from MacNeil and RCMP believe she was also a victim of homicide.

“In each case of these three cases, we know that there are people out there who have knowledge of what happened to Shelly Ann, Deann, and Stephanie,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Zazulak, who heads up the “K” Division HHU.

“We want to hear from those people, whether it be through Crime Stoppers, through their local detachment or through our own social media channels.”

These three cases span a period of about 30 years between 1983 and 2013 with the ages spanning from 16-70 years of age.

Officers believe that these three cases are not related in any way.

All cases continue to remain unsolved.

The RCMP would like to offer the family of these women the closure they deserve through the arrest of the person or persons involved and responsible.

If anyone has any information, they are encouraged to contact their local detachment or police agency.If you wish to remain anonymous, call crime stoppers at 1-800-222-tips (8477) or submit information at www.crimestoppers.ab.ca.


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