Twenty-three years after her daughter went missing, Judy Peterson still keeps in touch with the lead investigator on the case.
“In fact, this is probably my fourth investigator,” she said. “They’ve all retired.”
Peterson’s 14-year-old daughter, Lindsey Jill Nicholls, disappeared on Aug. 2, 1993. She was last seen walking along Royston Road in the Comox Valley on her way to visit friends.
Last week, 20 officers trained in forensics conducted an extensive search at a rural site that could have a connection to the case. Results from the search have not been released.
Peterson, who lives in Sidney, and the RCMP hope the surrounding publicity helps produce new leads and information.
“We’re hoping to maybe generate some interest and, hopefully, some tips from the public to follow up on,” said Island District RCMP Cpl. Tammy Douglas
A search of another rural Comox Valley property in 2011, also resulting from a tip, yielded nothing to help with the case. A Crime Stoppers video re-enactment was filmed in 2001.
Douglas said there are still clues to be found about Lindsey’s disappearance. She was headed east on the road about 10:30 a.m., making her way from her temporary foster home in the direction of Courtenay to visit friends.
She left all of her belongings and “treasures” behind, leading her mother to doubt that she was planning to run away.
“The family is still very much wanting us to follow every tip, and of course that’s exactly what we’ll do,” Douglas said. “We’re just trying to keep it fresh in people’s memory, even though it’s a 23-year-old file now.
“Clearly for the family it is still fresh and they’re looking for answers.”
Police are appealing for any sort of detail from the public, Douglas said.
“Even if it’s just something somebody might feel is very minor, it might help us,” she said. “Every little bit of information we would like to have, of course.”
“All we need is one extra piece of information, I think, and maybe we would just finally get some answers,” she said. “I believe somebody knows something or more than one person knows something, and we’re just hoping that they’ll have courage to come forward and let us know what they know.”
The case was the impetus for federal legislation to create a national DNA data bank.
After years of effort by Peterson, the government committed $8.1 million in 2014 to the establishment of what has been dubbed “Lindsey’s Law.”
Peterson said that seeing the law get support was something special for her.
“It will compare the DNA from found human remains to DNA from family members,” she said. “It will also look at crime-scene DNA, so that if Lindsey was in a crime scene and the DNA is sitting there then we can find out.”
The disappearance came after the family moved to Comox when her father, an RCMP officer, was transferred. Lindsey was not happy with the move and spent time with friends in Delta, before moving into the foster home close to where her parents lived.
Things were getting better when Lindsey disappeared.
At the time of her disappearance, Lindsey was five-foot-three and 110 to 115 pounds with green eyes and blond hair dyed with red henna. She had been wearing jeans, a khaki tank top made of silk, blue-and-pink checkered shirt and white runners.
Contact Comox Valley RCMP at 250-338-1321 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).