Out of the Cold
Disappearance of Nanaimo woman remains unsolved [RCMP]
October 18, 2023 By Stephen Metelsky
Nanaimo, B.C. is a picturesque part of Canada located on the east side of Vancouver Island – a ferry port city with endless views of the Pacific Ocean.
June 29, 2002, was the beginning of another warm, long summer that boasted sunset views with rays that cascaded along the coastal shores. The city was bustling and social activities were plentiful.
Lisa Marie Young, 21 years of age at the time, was preparing for a night out. Young, who was accompanied by a group of her friends, ventured into Nanaimo to a local bar they had become accustomed to hanging out at. It had become a weekend social tradition, especially during the summertime.
There was talk at some point during the evening about a party that people were planning on attending afterward. In the spontaneity of the moment, it sounded like an appealing option to Young and her friends.
The serenity and trajectory of the evening was about to take a nefarious turn, since the group of friends decided to accept a ride from a man they had met at the bar, who offered to drive them all to the nearby party. No one knew the man. Young and her group of friends arrived at the party, and the social festivities continued into the early morning hours of Sun. June 30.
At one point Lisa Marie told her friends she was going to head back into the city with the man who drove them, to get something to eat. She promised her friends she would return to the party in a taxicab later on.
When minutes turned into hours and there was no sign or promise of Lisa Marie returning to the party, her friends grew concerned. She never returned and there was no other form of communication between her and her friends once she had left with the man.
Police were notified about Lisa Marie’s disappearance. Her friends and family feared the worst. Tragically, investigators quickly discerned that something devious had likely transpired. There was no information about Young’s whereabouts after she left with the unknown man.
Lisa Marie Young has been missing ever since she was last seen leaving the house party on June 30, 2002, and the Nanaimo RCMP major crime unit now believes Young “may have been met with foul play.”
Young, 21 years of age in 2002, is an Indigenous woman. She has brown eyes and long, black straight hair. She is five feet two inches tall and is described as having a thin, slender build, weighing approximately 117 pounds at the time of her disappearance.
On the evening in question, Lisa Marie Young was wearing a black tank top and a black skirt. She also had a pair of black shoes on—they were size eight.
Young was wearing jewellery on the evening of her disappearance: a hoop necklace made of silver aluminum that also contained a medallion. Young also has a tattoo of a band of flowers with a heart on her right arm.
“[The officer’s observations] point convincingly in the direction of a meaningful level of impairment.” – Chief Justice Richards
Family and friends have not heard from Lisa Marie Young since 2002.
Aside from driving Young in his burgundy Jaguar, there is no information that has been released about the man last seen leaving the party with Lisa Marie Young in Nanaimo, B.C., on June 30.
The RCMP have interviewed over 100 people in the case – now classified as a “homicide” – including the man who drove Young and her friends that fateful evening.
Police have received numerous tips over the years and the countless searches conducted to look for clues in the case have resulted in no new developments in the unsolved investigation.
Each year friends and family of Young gather at the local RCMP detachment for an “annual walk for justice” that includes marching to a local park.
“It leaves a big hole in our heart to not know where she is,” said Young’s aunt, Mary Martin, during a June 2023 interview with Global News.
Young’s mother Joanne fought a valiant pursuit to seek justice for her daughter up until her untimely death in 2017. Her family continues to pursue justice for Lisa Marie – and closure in the unsolved case.
“We want the public to know this investigation continues to move forward. If you have information that you have never shared with police, now is the time to do so. It’s never too late,” said Gary O’Brien, the RCMP media relations officer.
Police are requesting anyone with information to contact them directly at the RCMP Nanaimo major crime unit. The number is: 250-754-2345. The RCMP case reference number is: 2002-22236.
Tipsters can also provide information anonymously at Crime Stoppers: 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online at canadiancrimestoppers.org/tips.
The official RCMP website for ‘Missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people is: rcmp-grc.gc.ca/indigenous-autochtone/mmaw-fada-eng.htm
Stephen Metelsky, M.A., is an author, professor and (ret.) sergeant. Follow him on Twitter @StephenMetelsky.
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