The mother of Emma Fillipoff hopes a new lead could shed light on the missing woman’s last known whereabouts.
Shelley Fillipoff said a man named William contacted her to say he gave her daughter a ride to the intersection of Admirals and Craigflower roads on the morning of Nov. 29, 2012, about nine hours after she was last seen by two police officers in downtown Victoria.
So far, Emma’s movements after she spoke with officers in front of the Empress Hotel have been a mystery.
Emma, 26, was barefoot, clutching her shoes and distraught when she talked to the officers between 7:15 and 8 p.m. on Nov. 28, 2012.
A friend had called 911 after seeing her in a paranoid state.
It took a while for the officers to get Emma to talk, but when she did, they determined she was not at risk of harm. She walked away, never to be seen or heard from again.
But this summer, a man contacted Fillipoff to say he saw Emma walking on Admirals Road while he was driving from Esquimalt to Saanich. She jumped onto the sidewalk and was screaming so he pulled over and asked her if she was OK, according to an interview he gave to Kimberly Bordage, who has produced a podcast called Search for Emma Fillipoff.
The man told Fillipoff that Emma was barefoot and drenched, as if she had been walking all night in the rain.
William, whose last name was not provided, offered to give her a ride. Emma calmed down and asked to be driven to a friend’s place in Colwood. She didn’t mention her friend’s name or address. William didn’t have time to take her to Colwood, so he dropped her off at 5:15 a.m. near the Petro Canada gas station at the corner of Admirals and Craigflower roads.
The man told Fillipoff he didn’t come forward with the information right away because he was worried he would be implicated in Emma’s disappearance. The man eventually became a father and his conscience nagged at him to come forward.
“His account was more than believable,” Fillipoff said. “He described Emma to a T, her mannerisms, everything. The way he talked about her taking her long hair out from under her coat. I thought it was so plausible that she walked throughout the night.”
Some of Fillipoff’s previous searches have focused on Colwood. A prepaid credit card Emma bought on Nov. 28 was used five days later at a Colwood gas station.
Victoria police say they continue to investigate the case but would not speak specifically to the credibility of the tip.
“Emma’s disappearance continues to be investigated by our major crime detectives,” said Const. Matt Rutherford, spokesman for Victoria police.
“Tips are still being received, including the one you have referenced, and each viable tip is investigated. There has been no confirmed sightings of Emma since Nov. 28, 2012.”
Fillipoff has enlisted the help of a search-dog handler, Kim Cooper, who has been involved in hundreds of missing persons searches and was featured in CBC’s true crime podcast, Someone Knows Something.
Cooper has offered to search parts of Colwood with a cadaver dog in early December.
“It’s not to say I’m not giving up hope that she will be found alive,” Fillipoff said.
Anyone with information on Emma Fillipoff’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Victoria police non-emergency line at 250-995-7654 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).