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Catcheways holding out hope nine years later

By Brian Oliver, The Graphic

Jennifer Catcheway's mother Bernice, right, speaks with an Australian documentary film crew during Saturday's annual fundraiser at the Catcheway home in Portage la Prairie. (Brian Oliver/The Graphic)

Jennifer Catcheway's mother Bernice, right, speaks with an Australian documentary film crew during Saturday's annual fundraiser at the Catcheway home in Portage la Prairie. (Brian Oliver/The Graphic)

There was a noticeable increase of media presence at the annual fundraiser for missing Portage la Prairie woman Jennifer Catcheway as the nine year anniversary of her disappearance approaches.

A documentary film crew from Australia was on hand - putting specific focus on the missing persons case of the Portager as the Aussies are dealing with their own epidemic of murdered and missing aboriginal women.

"There are other families out there hurting the same way we're hurting," said Bernice Catcheway, mother of Jennifer Catcheway. "As long as we have breath, as long as we're able, my husband and I will keep going. We've got to bring her home."

Supporters were coming and going from the Catcheway residence throughout the day Saturday, supporting the family's efforts to fund the ongoing search for Jennifer, which reaches its ninth year on Monday, June 19. Jennifer, of Manitoba's Skownan First Nation, was last seen in Grand Rapids, Man., where she was believed to be with her uncle and cousin celebrating her birthday.

"It's continuing. Women and girls, men and boys are going missing every single day and it needs to stop. We need answers. Families need answers and closure," said Catcheway. "We're very excited about the (film crew coming). I really look forward to spreading the news that this isn't only about Jennifer. (She) is just one of thousands that have gone missing and (those families) need that kind of exposure also."

During the near decade-long battle the Catcheways have been fighting to find Jennifer, the family has seen first hand the epidemic surrounding missing and murdered aboriginal women not just in the province but all of Canada - so much so that the federal government launched a national inquiry in hopes for answers. And although pleased with the progress, the family believes there should be more transparency.

"We're glad that (the inquiry) has taken place, but we're disappointed in the process," noted Bernice Catcheway. "There's not enough communication between families. We would have liked to have been involved in the process. $53 million dollars - where's the money being spent and how's it being spent?"

Working off new developments, the Catcheways hope to continue the search for Jennifer on Monday at Dakota Tipi First Nation.

"Our daughter is out there. We'll stop when we bring her home," adds Catcheway.



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