(Virginia Pictou Noyes in an undated photo. Courtesy of the family)
There’s been a breakthrough in the case of a Virginia Pictou Noyes, a Mi’kmaq woman missing 24 years.
The family of Pictou Noyes, originally of Membertou First Nation in Nova Scotia, say new information is pointing to suspects close to home.
“I received a text message on Oct. 26,” said Virginia’s brother Francis Pictou. “The cold case unit is going to interview them.”
The text message came from a relative alleging Virginia was murdered by two men known to the family.
One of those men has since died, Francis said.
“The cockroaches are running,” he said in a telephone interview from his home in Massachusetts.
Pictou Noyes vanished April 1993 after leaving a hospital in Bangor, Maine.
Her family says she was seeking first aid after allegedly being beaten by two men.
The Mi’kmaq woman was born in Membertou but moved to Maine as an adult.
Brother Robert Pictou, who lives in Terrace, B.C., said police arrested both men after the beating but released them on conditions.
Then his sister disappeared.
(The family of Virginia Pictou Noyes testifying at the national MMIWG inquiry in Membertou. Photo: Tom Fennario/APTN)
The family says they heard little about the case until the text message arrived just before they testified at the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Membertou last month.
Francis said the tipster claimed the men confessed to killing Virginia.
“They burned her body in a car…she was 26 years old.”
But that wasn’t the most shocking part.
Francis said the family recently learned that police knew about the car fire in 2009 but didn’t tell them about it.
“They’ve been keeping us in the dark in regards to my sister’s life,” he said.
The family shared a letter with APTN News from the Maine State Police, confirming Virginia is listed in the missing person database. She is also the subject of an “open investigation,” the letter says.
Robert said police were called to a dispute involving Virginia and two men at her home in Maine where Virginia declined to press charges.
Then she changed her mind, he said, and gave a statement, so police arrested the men, and then released them. And she went missing.
“This happened the day before we were supposed to testify (at the inquiry),” Robert said of the news, adding he, Francis and sister Aggie Gould in Membertou were working to verify the information ever since.
Robert said a family friend communicated with the tipster online but he has declined to say anything more.
Francis says he has been in touch with the Maine attorney general’s office and been promised a full investigation.
“This case is under the microscope now,” he said.