Margaret Charlie’s daughter has been missing since Saturday.
“The RCMP said she’s 18 and there is nothing they can do about it,” said Charlie, her eyes filling with tears.
The slight, First Nations woman had come to the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre to get help on Wednesday.
The day before, she’d headed to the police station alone.
“They said all they could do is have members look out for her because she’s an adult and maybe she didn’t want to come home,” said Charlie.
But this explanation doesn’t make sense.
Charlie and her daughter, Julie Lynn Brackenbury are close.
They live together and talk openly.
“She calls all the time and tells me who she sees, if she’s partying and when she’ll be home.”
The mother and daughter have always lived together.
On Saturday morning, Brackenbury got home at 5:45 a.m.
She’d been out partying and asked her mom to make her some rice.
Charlie was getting ready for work and by the time she finished her coffee, her daughter had fallen asleep.
When she got home that evening, around 5 p.m., Brackenbury was gone.
“I thought her friends had come over and she went out,” said Charlie.
The next day Brackenbury’s dad was getting out of the Adult Resource Centre and Charlie assumed she’d be home.
“She’s close with her dad too,” she said.
By Sunday evening, when there was still no phone call, Charlie got worried.
“I thought I’d wait one more day, then go to the police,” she said.
That’s when Charlie was told, “there was nothing the RCMP could do.”
On Wednesday, Charlie went back to the police station with a support worker from Victoria Faulkner.
The officer handling the case was out on lunch, said Charlie.
And the receptionist reiterated, “there was nothing much they could do.”
That afternoon, women from Victoria Faulkner plastered the downtown with posters of Brackenbury.
“I don’t know if the cops are still working on it,” said Charlie Thursday night.
“But I wonder, how long before they consider this a missing person?
“Is it one week, two weeks?
“I hope they’re looking into it,” she said quietly.
“I just can’t help thinking the worst.”
The RCMP doesn’t have one set protocol when dealing with missing persons, said Sgt. Roger Lockwood on Friday.
“There’s nothing in terms of, ‘We won’t do anything for 24 hours,’” he said.
“We open a file right away; we assign an investigator and assign a priority to it.”
There are many variables, said Lockwood.
“Is the person lost? Overdue? Have medical conditions? How old are they? What are their relations with their family?
“We are looking at all these pieces to the puzzle.”
When a missing person is an adult, things change, he added.
Often police get calls about missing persons only to find they’re not actually missing; they just don’t want to be found.
“And with adults we have to look at a person’s right to privacy,” said Lockwood.
Lockwood couldn’t talk about individual cases, like Charlie’s.
“But we treat all calls regarding missing persons seriously,” he said.
Julie Lynn Brackenbury, 18, is approximately 5’8” tall and has long dark hair, usually worn in a ponytail.
She is a First Nations woman with a light complexion.
Anyone with information can call Margaret or Jeff at 334-9448.