Family of Lisa Marie Young and RCMP investigators hope a large reward offer will help forward the investigation into her disappearance.
Young was 21 when she left a house party, accepted a ride with a man who drove a Jaguar, and disappeared on June 30, 2002, in Nanaimo. Police believe Young’s disappearance was the result of foul play and in nearly 20 years of investigation into the case, her body has never been found.
Now an anonymous donor has offered $50,000 U.S. to anyone who can lead investigators to the location of Young’s remains.
Carol Frank, Lisa Marie’s aunt, said her sister Joanne Young, Lisa Marie’s mother, worked hard to keep her daughter’s memory alive until she died in 2017. Frank, along with Cyndy Hall, has organized annual marches and other efforts to maintain public awareness of the missing woman’s case.
“I know my late sister would be really happy and honoured that someone was going to do this for Lisa,” Frank said. “It’s sad we have to come to this, you know, to offer money, but if it helps in the end then that’s all we want, to bring Lisa home. It’s always been our main goal over all the years, even before justice is done … to bring Lisa home, give her a proper burial. Somebody just threw her away, like trash, and she wasn’t.”
Frank said she knows and has spoken with the person who has put up the reward and the decision was made that the reward money would only be for locating Young’s remains.
“Cyndy and I actually met with the lead investigator and discussed this too and that’s what we want,” Frank said. “It’s not just for information because we’ve got a lot of information over the years … Someone knows where she is and we’re hoping this will help.”
Cpl. Markus Muntener of Nanaimo RCMP’s serious crimes unit, lead investigator on the case since 2018, said police believe the reward could bring forward new information.
“Which would benefit the investigation, obviously, and at the same time help the family get some closure if her remains are located,” Muntener said. “We have to basically corroborate and assess information if it does come through to us.”
He said finding Young’s remains could provide physical evidence that could be used to “assess other information in the investigation” that could further the file.
“Finding her remains could have a significant positive impact…” he said. “We’ve had quite a few years where we’ve been able to dedicate a lot of resources to it. Unfortunately last year Nanaimo had five murders, so our unit’s been heavily taxed away, but we’re still actively investigating things as they come in.”
Muntener said police believe there are people who have direct evidence or information and they’re hoping the reward will motivate those people to come forward.
“We’re just really thankful that they’ve come forward to do this and hope it will help move the case forward because it’s been a long time. It’s going to be 20 years,” Frank said.