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Andrews may be on RCMP case list

No confirmation yet if missing Fort St. John woman is one of 1,186 identified by Mounties

The names of at least two missing Northeast B.C. women could be on the RCMP's recently revealed list of 1,186 missing and murdered aboriginal women, according to local police.

RCMP in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John confirmed that they each had unresolved cases involving aboriginal women.

In Dawson Creek, RCMP still have no answers in the 2004 disappearance of Eva Mitchell. As well, Fort St. John RCMP are still looking for leads on Abigail Andrews, who disappeared in 2010.

The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network first reported the startling figure, based on early reports of RCMP efforts to compile a list of aboriginal women who were killed or went missing between 1980 and this year.

RCMP confirmed the statistic Friday, and are expected to release a full report on missing and murdered aboriginal women in the next few weeks.

Sgt. Scott West of the Dawson Creek RCMP told the Alaska Highway News that the Mitchell case fits the criteria of the Federal list. But he could not say for certain whether Mitchell was included.

"I recall there was some interest in this file from some missing persons agencies. It may be they investigated this case to see whether it met their criteria," he said of the Federal investigation. "But I can't say whether it was used in compiling that number."

Mitchell, who was a resident of the Kelly Lake Metis Settlement south of Dawson Creek, went missing in 2004.

According to a CBC report from 2004, hundreds of volunteers helped RCMP officers in the search. She was 83 when she disappeared, and left her purse and other belongings at home. The search was called off in August of that year.

"It's an open investigation because that person has never been located," said West. "We do follow up on leads."

"If we had any files, [the Federal department] would know if they used that file in compiling that number," he said of the Mitchell case. "But I can't tell if they used any cases from our office in arriving at that number."

Andrews went missing from her Fort St. John home in April 2010. Corporal Jodi Shelkie, of the Fort St. John detachment, said Andrews would qualify for the Federal list, but the case has not been solved and there are no recent updates.

Shelkie said the detachment does not file reports based on a person's race, and thus could not confirm whether any other cases matched the criteria of the Federal count.

Corporal Laurence Trottier with Federal RCMP headquarters told the Alaska Highway News that it was still too early to confirm which missing women are included in the 1,186. According to reports, RCMP worked with more than 200 local police forces to compile the list.

This latest count of missing and murdered women is much higher than previous estimates. A 2010 study by the Native Women's Association of Canada concluded there were at least 582 cases of missing and murdered women, but acknowledged that there were likely many more. According the study, cases in B.C. accounted for almost a third of that number.

At the Federal level, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has called for an inquiry, while the government maintains it needs a comprehensive police strategy, rather than additional studies.