The mother of two spoke to The Nugget Thursday on the 20th anniversary of her daughter's disappearance.
After countless appeals to the public, searches and tips, Melanie Ethier still hasn't been found.
Over the past two decades, Celine Ethier says she's heard every scenario possible of what might have happened to her 15-year-old daughter.
But Melanie's body has not been found.
“I really don't know how someone can live with themselves,” Ethier said in a telephone interview Thursday.
“How can you live with no remorse for 20 years? It's just not human. Someone was responsible for her not making it home that night. Every time I post a picture of Melanie on social media, I am trying to reach that one person who will tell me where my daughter is.”
Ethier says she last saw her daughter Sept. 28, 1996, when she left her home in New Liskeard with friends to watch a movie a few blocks away.
“The last time I saw Melanie was 20 years ago on a Wednesday at 10 p.m. She had asked me if she could have friends over, but I reminded her how messy her room was,” Ethier recalls.
“She left with a big smile on her face and said 'let's go guys.' She walked down the sidewalk and I stood there watching. That was the last time.”
Melanie left her friend's residence at 2 a.m. Sept. 29. She intended to walk the short distance home but never made it. Melanie was reported missing later that day.
She was last seen wearing a green Nike jacket, blue jeans, white shirt with a blue Pepe logo on the front and black boots.
Ethier believes more than one person is responsible for her daughter's disappearance.
She says her daughter was a strong person and would have fought off a single attacker.
“I can say this year I really find it hard. I feel empty.”
Ethier says she's kept a box of her daughter's favourite things.
“Every anniversary I go back in the bin and hold her souvenirs like her sweatshirt and pictures. I've even kept the baby shower cards I received when I was expecting Melanie.”
Ethier said she will mark the anniversary of her daughter's disappearance surrounded by family.
“As long as I'm living I will hope for closure,” she says.
Anyone with information in relation to the disappearance of Melanie Ethier is asked to contact the Temiskaming Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) at 705-647-8400.
20 years since Melanie Ethier disappeared
Mom: Please don’t take this information to your grave. I always thought I would have answers by now and my heart is exhausted after searching for 20 years.
September 27, 2016
For Immediate Release
Today marks 20 years since Melanie Ethier went missing in the Town of New Liskeard, ON. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the family of Melanie Ethier are asking for the public to come forward with any information about her disappearance.
Melanie was 15-years-old when she vanished after leaving a friend’s home on Sept. 29, 1996. She was walking a short distance to her home in Temiskaming Shores at 2 a.m., but never made it. She has not been seen or heard from since that morning and police say foul play is strongly suspected in her disappearance.
“I truly believe that someone knows what happened to Melanie,” says Melanie’s mom, Celine Ethier. “Whoever has information, please come forward. Please don’t take this information to your grave. I always thought I would have answers by now and my heart is exhausted after searching for 20 years.”
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is appealing to anyone who has information about Melanie to contact MissingKids.ca at 1-866-543-8477. Help Celine and her family find the answers they need.
“For 20 years, someone has kept what happened to Melanie that night a secret. It’s time to come forward,” said Christy Dzikowicz, Director of MissingKids.ca. “It’s time to give her family some peace. Call the police. Call us. You don’t have to give your name, just tell us what you know – even if it’s just a small piece of information.”
Melanie was last seen wearing a green Nike jacket, blue jeans, white shirt with a blue Pepe logo on the front and black boots.
To set up an interview with Celine Ethier or Christy Dzikowicz, please contact the Canadian Centre for Child Protection at firstname.lastname@example.org or 204-945-8074.
All media inquiries can be directed to:
Communications, Canadian Centre for Child Protection
The case has been handled by a number of investigators over the years, and is now in the hands of Det. Const. Lisa Laxton.
Laxton said the investigation “remains an active and ongoing” one but couldn’t offer any new details, information or tips on the case as it could “potentially compromise our investigative efforts that have taken place over the past 20 years.”
“Any investigation of this type is difficult for the investigators who are assigned to the case,” Laxton said in an email. “This case is particularly challenging as it is difficult to find answers to a person’s disappearance when they have literally vanished without a trace.”
COLD CASE: Melanie Ethier's mother continues the search, 20 years later
Melanie went missing Sept. 29, 1996, at age 15
NEWS Jul 23, 2017 by Sarah Bissonette Parry Sound North Star
Celine Ethier at a billboard that is still up urging for the person who knows what happened to her daughter to call police in this 2011 photo. (Let's Work Together to Find Melanie Ethier/Facebook) - Facebook
Melanie Ethier Bridge
Celine Ethier on the bridge her daughter would have cross Sept. 29, 1996, on her way home from a friend's after an evening of watching movies, as photographed in 2013. (Let's Work Together to Find Melanie Ethier/Facebook) - Facebook
melanie Ethier Poster
A poster used in the continuing search for Melanie Ethier, who disappeared in 1996 when she was 15-year-old, as shown in this 2016 photo. (Let's Work Together to Find Melanie Ethier/Facebook) - Facebook
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The Northern Ontario town of New Liskeard has a population of 4,400 and sits on the shores of Lake Timiskaming and is where 15-year-old Melanie Ethier went missing during the early morning hours of Sunday, Sept, 29, 1996. She was walking home after watching movies at a friend’s that night. Home was less than a kilometre away, but she never made it.
The community rallied to find the teenager then, and still does all these years later, as her mother doesn’t give up hope that some day a tip will come through that leads her to her daughter.
“My biggest fear is whoever did it will die and never tell anyone,” said Melanie’s mom Celine Ethier, from the hospital where she was supporting a loved one.
Just as she was two decades earlier, Celine is determined that the public knows she’s looking for her daughter and doesn’t forget her face and name.
“My biggest fear is whoever did it will die and never tell anyone,” said Melanie’s mom Celine Ethier.
A Facebook page titled “Let’s Work Together to Find Melanie Ethier’ has 4,418 members. On it Celine has posted photos of ribbons she posts on the bridge Melanie would have crossed that night and photos of posters she creates and puts around town, a video montage of her daughter and messaging to mark the anniversaries, calling on members to share her daughter’s picture and message her with any information. The most recent post is an image of Melanie’s ‘Missing’ poster on the back of a tanker truck spotted on Highway 400 on July 9.
And 20 years later the local OPP detachment has tips on her disappearance coming in on a regular basis, the case file still open and all leads investigated.
Celine woke up that Sunday morning to Melanie’s alarm clock that had been set for about 6 a.m. so Melanie could get to work at a local daycare. Celine didn’t worry at first, figuring her daughter had fallen asleep watching the movie and was still at the friend’s house.
“They were supposed to be somewhere else, but (her friend whose place she was suppose to go) wasn’t home because she had a bit of an accident,” said Celine, who didn’t have the phone number of the house Melanie had been. “So then I contacted her friend and I asked her to contact the place they were at and that’s when they said she had left the night before.”
The town’s police service began searching right away and Celine went everywhere she thought her daughter could be, spoke to the media, and created posters to ensure everyone knew Melanie was missing.
The community searched, organized fundraisers for Celine and her five-year-old daughter and ensured they had meals.
“My house felt like a big funeral for the first two weeks because I had people dropping off food, flowers, gifts. I had a lot of contact with the police, they really kept me up-to-date. I did mini-searches myself with friends,” said Celine, who said she followed up on tips and did mini-detective work.
Today the search continues. The Temiskaming OPP are now the local police and Det. Constable Lisa Laxton now the lead on the file.
The OPP don’t consider Melanie’s disappearance a cold case and officers continue to investigate new tips as they come in. And the community, said Laxton, continues to help, with businesses putting new posters up Celine makes and sharing anything they remember from that time.
Tips continue to come in on a regular basis.
“We get people walking in the detachment, we get Crime Stoppers, we get telephone calls,” said Laxton. “Someone might start by saying ‘this might be nothing, but’ maybe mentioning some stranger they know, or some odd character who, maybe in ’96 (was) living in the area (the tip giver) wishing if they can put two and two together, get the police to look into this specific person, it could be something so simple, but they feel if they don't tell the police and we don’t look into this guy; ‘what if’, they asked themselves that quite often ‘what if I didn’t tell the police and they weren’t aware of this guy in our neighbourhood. A lot of people feel they need to give the police something to work with, which is pretty amazing and is probably that small community mindset.”
A billboard with Melanie’s image remains, replaced when it wears out.
“We certainly hope we can find Melanie, for her mom and sister,” said Laxton.
Melanie had a sense of humour and surrounded herself with good people, said her mom. Melanie was doing well in school and had a ‘lovely personality ‘ that made her memorable to those she came in contact with.
“I think, in my heart, the only way to find her is if I’m given a location. To me it’s not as important to know who did it, as it is to find my daughter to give her a place of rest. In my heart I believe she deserves to be found; she should not just be out there somewhere and forgotten,” said Celine.
(Note: The story was edited Aug. 1, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. to clarify that it was a friend of Melanie's whose place Melanie had originally planned to go that night who wasn't home due to an accident.)
July 10 at 10:11 PM
Many tips have come in over the past 21 years . Melanie's case is still very active with the OPP . Both the police and I believe that my daughter was picked up , murdered , and that her body was disposed off. We have lots of brushes / lots of farm land, and large mass of watter including the Lake Temiskaming , the White River . I NEED the person (s) who knows where my daughter Melanie is, TO COME FORWARD .
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Criminal Investigation Branch, Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122 or (705) 329-6111, the Temiskaming Detachment at (705) 647-8400, Temiskaming Shores Police Service at (705) 647-4388, their nearest police authority, or Crime Stoppers.
Search continues for Melanie Ethier 22 years after she went missing
Ontario Provincial Police say a missing person case that is 22 years old is still active and ongoing.
On Sept. 29, 1996, Melanie Ethier, 15, left a friend's home in the Town of New Liskeard to walk home. She has not been heard or seen since.
Police say the case is unique as Melanie "seemed to vanish without a trace."
However, police say they still believe someone has information to help solve the case.
"We are hopeful that members of the public will continue to contact the OPP with new tips and information that will assist our investigation," police said in a release.
Anyone with information is asked to contact OPP or Crime Stoppers.
Melanie Ethier vanished 'without a trace': Investigation continues 22 years later
TEMISKAMING SHORES — Temiskaming OPP say the missing person's case of 15-year-old Melanie Ethier is unique in that she seemed to "vanish without a trace."
Ethier left a friend's residence in New Liskeard to walk home less than a kilometre away at approximately 2 a.m. on Sept. 29, 1996 and she was never seen or heard from again.
The community rallied to find the teenager then, and still does all these years later, as her mother doesn’t give up hope that some day a tip will come through that leads her to her daughter, Celine Ethier told the Parry Sound North Star in July 2017.
"The investigation remains active and is ongoing," Const. Jennifer Smith writes in a press release issued Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018.
Missing my Christmas baby / 22 years without a trace / keeping the Faith keeping Hope," wrote Ethier Dec. 20 on the social media page dedicated to finding her daughter. "I choose to believe that the persons who knows what happened to my 15-year-old daughter will come forward. Please send me a private message if your tip could help me locate my child, or call the OPP or Crime Stoppers. God Bless."
"The investigation remains active and is ongoing," Const. Jennifer Smith writes in a press release issued Thursday, Dec. 20.
The status of the investigation will remain open until the OPP determine the whereabouts of Ethier or can positively determine what has happened to her.
"This case is unique as Melanie seemed to vanish without a trace, however we still believe someone out there has the information that we are seeking in order to solve this case," Smith continues. They are hopeful that members of the public will continue to contact the OPP with new tips and information that will assist the investigation and state that no matter what information is provided, it will be closely examined.
"The OPP prides itself on investigative excellence and has a long-standing tradition of conducting thorough and detailed investigations and that is certainly the case with the disappearance of Melanie Ethier. This case is particularly challenging as it is difficult to find answers to a person's disappearance when they have literally vanished without a trace," Smith concludes.
Anyone with any information regarding missing person Melanie Ethier should immediately contact Det. Sgt. Lisa Laxton at: 705-647-8400 or if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at: 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) and you may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2,000.
Melanie Ethier, 15, disappeared without a trace Sept. 29, 1996
Melanie Ethier, 15, left a friend’s residence in New Liskeard at about 2 am Sept. 29, 1996, to walk home less than a kilometre away. She has not been seen or heard from since.
The investigation remains active and will remain open until the OPP determine the whereabouts of Melanie or can positively determine what happened to her.
This case is unique as Melanie seemed to “vanish without a trace,” the OPP states. However, OPP still believe someone out there has the information police seek in order to solve the case.
“We are hopeful that members of the public will continue to contact the OPP with new tips and information that will assist our investigation,” Det. Sgt. Lisa Laxton states in a media release. “No matter what information is provided by the public, I can assure it will be closely examined.”
The OPP says it prides itself on “investigative excellence” and has a “longstanding tradition of conducting thorough and detailed investigations, and that is certainly the case with the disappearance of Melanie Ethier.”
“This case is particularly challenging as it is difficult to find answers to a person’s disappearance when they have literally vanished without a trace,” Laxton says. “We are confident someone knows something that can assist OPP, and we encourage anyone to come forward.”
Anyone with any information regarding this missing person case should immediately contact Laxton at 705-647-8400. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) and you may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2,000.
After watching a movie with friends, one of Melanie's female friends left early, when leaving she reported saw a suspicious vehicle that startled her to the point she ran to her car. Melanie would have left approximately an hour later, Melanie was last seen by a witness walking along the bridge.
Three women from Northern Ontario have joined up to create a crime podcast, and it has already started to create new conversation. ... more ›
Local podcast brings attention to 23-year-old cold case
Three women from Northern Ontario have joined up to create a crime podcast, and it has already started to create new conversation.
Susie, of North Bay, Candy, from Gravenhurst, and Angela from the Owen Sound area are life long friends and sisters who have put together their passions of podcasting and crime documentaries to create the “Shedding Light” podcast, which focuses on missing person reports.
Their first season dives into the missing case of Melanie Ethier of New Liskeard, who has been missing for over 23 years.