APTN National News
Roddy Sampare stood before the commissioners at the national inquiry hearings in Smithers, B.C. and told the story of his family’s tragedy like he had told it a thousand times before.
“The pain doesn’t go away,” he said. “You know, I was sitting in the other room listening to the people who lost their loved ones through murder. At least some of them had the chance to bury their loved one.
“We didn’t get that chance. It really hurts inside.”
His sister, Virginia Sampare, from the Gitsegukla First Nation, an hour by car from Smithers, vanished on Oct. 14, 1971.
At some point around 1995, the RCMP closed her file and didn’t reopen it until the Pickton investigation.
Police believed she was a victim of Robert Picton – a pig farmer in British Columbia who was convicted of second degree murder in the deaths of six women.
But Virginia Sampare’s DNA never turned up on Picton’s farm.
It left the family in limbo because the police didn’t share any information with the family – until yesterday.
Winnie Sampare, Virginia’s sister, stood at the inquiry in disbelief, to talk about the family meeting with the RCMP.
“We actually met with them yesterday,” Winnie Sampare said. “The other shocking information for us was that he shared that our chief councillor and others had gone to the RCMP detachment and told them that there was footprints found at the Gitsegukla River and they believe that it was hers.
“The reason why I say it was shocking information is that information from the Chief Councillor wasn’t shared with the family. This was new to us yesterday.”
The band council, and the RCMP kept the information from the family for more than 45 years.
“To me that sounds like maybe that’s why they stopped the search,” she said. “We don’t know.”
Even with this new information, Roddy Sampare said he still doesn’t trust the police.
“I feel the RCMP isn’t telling us the whole story when they talk to us and tell us the file is closed,” he said. “I asked for a copy of the file and they wouldn’t give it to me.”
And this new information has left him, and the rest of the Sampare family, confused.
“I can’t see it. The whole area is just rocks. You can’t leave footprints on the rocks, unless you have muddy feet I guess. So I don’t know what’s happening there,” he said.
Roddy Sampare said he didn’t feel he was given enough time to review the file, and asked for a copy, but RCMP declined.
He told the inquiry the last time they heard from the RCMP before Tuesday was during the Pickton investigation.
Today marks day two of testimony at the public hearings for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls at the The Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre.
Roddy Sampare told the commissioners that his sister was listed on the band list as deceased.
His mother asked him to accompany her to a band council meeting so she could ask a question.
“So she asked the band, she said, if my daughter is deceased can you take me to where she is at so I can bring her home and put her to rest,” Sampare said. “That’s what my mom said to the band council at the time.
“So today on the band list she is listed as missing.”
The last day for testimony at the Smithers hearings at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is Thursday.
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