Ramona Wilson models a wedding dress during a fashion show in the early 1990’s.

Ramona Wilson models a wedding dress during a fashion show in the early 1990’s.

Wilson family prepares for memorial walk

Saturday, June 9 at 1 p.m. a walk begins at the Lake Kathlyn School parking lot to keep alive the memory of Ramona Lisa Wilson.

Saturday, June 9 at 1 p.m. a walk begins at the Lake Kathlyn School parking lot.

It’s neither a fundraiser nor a cause for celebration.

It’s a walk to keep alive the memory of Ramona Lisa Wilson, a 16-year-old Smithers girl who went missing 18 years ago.

She was eventually found to be the victim of a homicide.

It’s a walk intended to shed light on what may have happened to the teenager after the day she went missing, June 11, 1994.

The walk will end with prayers, about an hour later, when those gathered stop at Yelich Road where Ramona’s body was found, April 9, 1995, in a wooded area just west of the Smithers Airport.

Last year, according to Ramona’s sister, Brenda, over 100 people walked with her family to pay their respects and to help the community heal.

“It’s been quite difficult for the rest of my family because there’s just no closure and it’s hard to cope with that,” Wilson said.

“I can see it taking a toll on my family, my mom, my brothers and I’m just hoping the answers will come forward before something happens to them.

“For myself, I’m more on a path where this has happened.

“All I can do is prevent it from happening again by bringing some awareness to something as tragic as this that happened in our community.”

Ramona was the youngest of six siblings.

At the time of her disappearance, Ramona was described as aboriginal, 5’ 1” (155 cm), 120 pounds, (54 kg) with black hair and brown eyes.

Brenda described her sister differently, as a bubbly, funny and a very compassionate person.

According to the RCMP website, Ramona ran errands in Smithers on the day of her disappearance, returning home around noon.

Ramona planned to go out that night to some graduation parties.

She told her mother she was likely going to be staying with her best friend.

When the family hadn’t heard from Ramona the following day, they were concerned and a search for her began.

Brenda Wilson said Ramona loved to help people and one of her ambitions in life was to become a psychologist.

“She was involved in sports, worked in a restaurant and was a peer counsellor,” Brenda said.

“Ramona was always busy.”

Although the walk ends with a gathering at the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Hall, 3955 Third Avenue, the issue of missing and murdered women will not end, it won’t go away without a lot more attention focused on it.

Cpl. Annie Linteau, of the RCMP “E” Division Strategic Communication Section, said they’re currently investigating the homicide or disappearances of 18 women.

“There’s nothing new in this investigation,” Linteau said.

But anything new potentially leading to answers for her family is what Brenda Wilson hopes for every year when this walk takes place.

“It’s hard to think of the future but we have to look in that direction,” she said.

“Always hoping the answers we need will come forward so that we can be at peace.

“Ramona is no longer here but she’s in my heart and always will be.

“We have to be able to move on and try to keep everybody safe in our community.”

If you have information about Ramona Lisa Wilson’s disappearance or murder, however insignificant it might seem, contact the Unsolved Homicide Unit Tip line at 1-877-543-4822, the Smithers RCMP at 250-847-3233 or Crimestoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).