Kelly Rideout’s daughter Alyssa spent her 11th birthday recently at Five Corners in Chilliwack demanding justice for her mother who is missing, presumed dead, and last seen seven years ago.
Alyssa Stamper was with her father Duane, stepmother Kylee, and dozens of others who have been affected by disappearances, homicides and even overdoses. The group of approximately 30 people held a vigil on Sept. 15 near the courthouse after walking the stretch of downtown along Yale Road from Williams.
Alyssa held a sign with a photo of her mother and the words, “Kelly Rideout – RIP Mommy.”
It also listed Rideout’s birthday as Sept. 23, 1976 and the words: “Remember the good not bad memories.”
Friends and family have been looking for Rideout’s remains for years, specifically looking around a local motel where she was last seen on July 10, 2011.
And Rideout’s disappearance was just one of the many stories of heartbreak the group focused on at the Sept. 15 rally. While the message of those who marched and held a vigil is somewhat mixed – conflating unrelated homicide victims in recent years with various cases of missing individuals all together with those victims of the current opioid crisis – clearly their heart is in the right place.
The group plans a similar march and vigil in Hope for this Saturday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. on Wallace Street.
Signs some people held included names such as Tyler Belcourt who was killed by Aaron Douglas on Aug. 7, 2014.
Then there was Zach Cross, killed in a house on Wellington on June 7 this year.
A handful of the dozens of names listed who have been reported on over the years: Doug Presseau, Stuart Ellis, Richard Blackmon, Deano Paus, Joanne Pederson, Shawnee Inyallie.
“This is just about the epidemic that is going on in our little town,” Kylee Stamper said before the vigil in Chilliwack.
“I know that there are a lot more people affected by this that I can even reach. A lot of the public doesn’t even know that it is this huge of a number. They are not aware of what is going on in the streets right now. Some people say, it’s just working girls. Well it’s not.”
Formerly homeless herself, mayoral candidate Brigida Crosbie was involved with the vigil and has been speaking about issues facing those on the streets, particularly women, for some time.
“My heart goes out to each and every one of you,” she said, in part, reading a prepared statement to the group. “We’ve been on the streets, we know what is happening out there.”
Crosbie added that she was amazed to hear how many people allegedly know details about what happened to Rideout yet haven’t spoken to police.
“This movement today is to help us all connect with one another in a meaningful way.”