Editor’s Note: APTN News originally reported it was a lawyer with the National Inquiry for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women that helped the Stone family of Saskatchewan obtain police and medical files. It was, in fact, the Family Information Liaison Unit of the Alberta government, which works with MMIWG families.
It was 1981 when Sylvia Stone promised to come back for her children.
She said, “‘I’m gonna find a place, my girl. I’m gonna get a job, and come get you,’” Sonya Bear recalled her mother saying. “It was the last time I spoke to her.”
Stone left the Mosquito First Nation in Saskatchewan planning to make a better life in Edmonton. But she was murdered June 21, 1981.
“We heard quite a bit of different stories growing up,” Bear said from Edmonton, with her two brothers by her side. “That she was on a bench on a street, she was found in a hotel room, and just recently, I heard she was found behind a bar.”
Not knowing what happened to their mother haunted her children. “Some say she was beaten to death,” Bear added. “Some say she did have a place and did have a job.
“I imagined so many different things.”
The imagining is supposed to end Tuesday afternoon when the family meets with a lawyer from the National Inquiry for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The lawyer has a copy of the police file on their mother’s death, Bear said, and a copy of the medical examiner’s report.
It’s two pieces of information they have never seen on the still unsolved-murder.
“My brother Lance got all this together last year, we finally got the Inquiry helping us. They helped us getting the police report,” she said.
Lance Stone said he contacted the Inquiry for help after trying to get the police file on his own.
“Her file is still sealed from 36 years ago,” he said. “They even told us the detectives had long retired or even passed on, that maybe they’ll be too old or senile.
We are hoping to get a hold of somebody that’s still alive.”
Three of Stone’s seven children spoke to APTN News from Edmonton.
Lance said Edmonton police asked him to prove he was related to Stone, so he gave a blood sample. He said they also wanted other identification and confirmation the family doesn’t have.
“Birth certificate, death certificate, how are we ever supposed to have that?” he said. “Not once have they ever contacted us.”
Lance was seven-years-old when his mom died. He’s the youngest of the kids.
He said they’ve been warned the medical report contains graphic information.
“She was brutally murdered, badly beaten, her face all broken up,” said Lance.
But he said he’s ready to have his questions answered.
“Today the file will be handed to me. It’s going to be a hard day for my family,” he said.
Everette Stone was eight-years-old when his mom was killed. His said his dad died tragically a few years earlier and his mom was moving around different places.
He said Stone was grieving after witnessing her husband drown. He said they had been drinking. He remembers once visiting her in an alcohol rehab centre.
“She was trying to find us a life. She was going to come back and get us,” said Stone. “She wasn’t a prostitute or anything like that.
“It kind of feels like the city police treated the file like that.”
“I remember my mom,” he added. “She was trying to make a life for herself and she was going to come for us. She came out here …and she came home in a box.”
The family plans to share more of its story with the Inquiry when it stops in Saskatoon Nov. 21-23.