Twenty years ago today, Matilda Wilson said goodbye to her daughter Ramona as she was leaving their Railway Avenue home for a graduation party. What happened after that is still a mystery but she would never see her 16 year old alive again.
Wilson said it was a busy weekend with different parties going on in and out of town but after not hearing from Ramona in two days, she grew concerned.
“When she didn’t show up for work at her part time job, that was a red flag. She always called me but I assumed she was at her friend’s house.”
“When we called the RCMP they told us that she might have taken time off and ran away but I know my daughter, she always phoned home. She had left all of her favourite things, she wouldn’t have left her clothes and makeup.”
Ten months after her disappearance, Ramona’s body was found on a trail near Smithers Regional Airport but no one has ever been charged with her murder.
“I’ve been patient for quite a long time with the investigators. I just don’t give up hope. I’ve heard of cases from 30 or 40 years ago that get solved.”
Matilda remembers her youngest child as fun-loving and very likeable.
“Ramona had just been hired to work as a peer counsellor before she went missing. She really liked talking to younger girls and anyone that needed help. She was good at that. She was very bubbly and had a lot of friends. She was also very funny and always made us laugh.”
Ramona’s sister, Brenda is organizing the annual Ramona Lisa Wilson Memorial Walk, from Lake Kathlyn to Yelich Road, near where her body was found. Matilda used to head up the walk but this year has passed the torch on to her daughter because she is emotional drained. The mother-daughter duo said they will hold the event every year while there is still a killer on the loose. About 100 people come out each year.
“The support means we are able to move forward so that you can get through every year with hope that something will change and we can keep our future generations safe,” said Brenda.
This year, they will also be remembering the people who have walked with them that have passed away recently. Brenda said 10 people that have supported them over the past 20 years have died in the last couple of years.
“It is hard to accept that but it is fact of life, things happen. I don’t want to forget them and their support.”
Brenda also wants to get the message about safety out. She wants people to be aware especially now with students celebrating their graduations.
“We want people to be safe and look out for each other. For Ramona, she was going to a grad party. No one saw her hitchhiking, so she could have been picked up right in town. You can’t be safe anywhere, no one wants to face that fact.”
The annual walk will be held on Saturday at 1 p.m. and everyone is welcome to attend. The walk will start at Lake Kathlyn Elementary. Rides will be provided afterwards to Northwest Community College where refreshments will be served.