Chilliwack fire crews dealt with a massive fire at Windsor Plywood on Vedder Road on Dec. 20, 2019. The blaze destroyed the business, and was damaging and threatening adjacent buildings. The story was the third most clicked on story of the year at (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Crime and tragedy led the way in 2019 news online

Top 10 stories from the Chilliwack Progress

As the new year takes root in our lives, it can be informative to look back at the news of 2019 to see what sparked the interest of readers.

What is read in print is impossible to precisely ascertain, but we do have numbers when it comes to the stories people clicked on and spent time reading on the website for The Chilliwack Progress.

So here is a list of the top 10 most read news stories from 2019, according to Google.

1. Young girl sexually, mentally tormented for five years by Chilliwack man

By far the story with the most pageviews on the website, this story about Andrew Mullaly and how he sexually and mentally abused a young girl over the course of five years was hard to read, yet many did.

2. Mother of missing Edmonton man pleads for public’s help in Chilliwack

The first of a series of stories over the year about Kristofer Shawn Couture, aged 25, who is still missing. Couture was from Edmonton, he reported to work in Maple Ridge on Jan. 25, he may have attended a gym in Burnaby that day, and his vehicle was found at the trailhead for Elk Mountain in Chilliwack.

3. Massive fire destroys Windsor Plywood and Canadian Liquidation in Chilliwack

A recent story (Dec. 20), the large blaze that destroyed two businesses contained video and images which, unsurprisingly, led to a lot of interest online.

4. Cultus Lake firefighter struggling with mental health takes his own life

We rarely cover suicides in the media for a number of reasons, but when the Cultus Lake Fire Department reached out with the tragic story of Connor Sloan who struggled with mental health issues taking his life before Christmas, we felt it was important to tell, and many agreed.

5. ‘Demalling’ on the horizon for struggling Chilliwack Mall

From sexual abuse to missing persons to fire to suicide to… shopping? Yes, the story on the future of the Chilliwack Mall was the fifth most clicked on story in 2019.

6. Snow appears in forecast for next week in Fraser Valley

It maybe almost be a cliché to suggest that Canadians love to talk about weather. But Canadians love to talk about, and read about, weather. The numbers prove it.

7. RCMP confirm body of missing Chilliwack senior found

One of the most compelling stories of 2019 was that of Ethel ‘Grace’ Baranyk, the 86-year-old woman with severe dementia who walked away and in doing so, brought the community together to try to find her. This story that was the seventh most read of the year was the tragic culmination of many stories about the search.

8. Shooting reported in downtown Chilliwack

This story from Feb. 26 had few details, yet garnered a large amount of web traffic, and in the end would turn out to be the first homicide of 2019. Christine Denham was killed in a home on Victor Street in an alleged domestic killing. Shane Hughes is charged with second-degree murder and his case is before the courts.

9. IHIT releases name of Chilliwack homicide from Tuesday

When the name was released of the city’s fourth homicide of the year, it was the ninth most read story of 2019. Keith Matthew Baldwin was placed on life support after being shot after midnight on Oct. 22, but he later died. No one has been charged in his death.

10. Search for missing Chilliwack senior with dementia comes to sad end

Another missing senior with dementia marked the last in the top 10 most read stories online. John Pop was missing for four days from his home on Promontory when he was found deceased near Chilliwack Lake Road.

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