Twelve-year-old Karissa Boudreau
was reported missing from Bridgewater on January 27, 2008. Her
body was found on the bank of the LaHave River two weeks later.
Following a four-month investigation, police charged the girl's
mother, 34-year-old Penny Boudreau, with first-degree murder.
On January 30, 2009, Boudreau
pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life
in prison with no chance of parole for 20 years. Investigators
learned she strangled her daughter because she believed the child
was in the way of her relationship with her boyfriend.
'Mummy, don't': Woman kills
her only daughter, 12, after boyfriend says, 'It's the child or
February 2, 2009
A mother murdered her only child after being
told by her boyfriend: 'It's her or me.'
Penny Boudreau strangled 12-year-old daughter
Karissa after Vernon MacCumber threatened to end their affair
because he did not get on with the girl.
Boudreau drove her daughter to a deserted
wooded area, knocked her to the ground and strangled her, a
Canadian court heard.
The heartless mother ignored her terrified
daughter's cries of 'Mummy, don't!' as she pinned her down and
wrapped a rope around her neck, prosecutor Paul Scovi said.
She then drove to a nearby river and pulled her
daughter's trousers partly off to make it look as if she was the
victim of a sex attack, before rolling her into the water.
Boudreau later claimed her daughter had gone
missing after they had an argument and made TV appeals for her
return. Two weeks later Karissa's body was found on the banks of
Boudreau was caught by undercover officers
posing as gangsters offering to destroy any evidence police had
against her. She was charged with murder in June last year.
Boudreau broke down in tears in the courtroom
in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, as she pleaded guilty to murder and
said: 'I'm sorry.'
Boudreau pleaded guilty to second degree murder
and was jailed for 20 years without parole.
Relatives wept openly in the courtroom as
Karissa's final hours were revealed by prosecutors.
The court heard that the single mother moved in
with her boyfriend Vernon MacCumber.
MacCumber did not get on with the 12-year-old
Karissa, and issued an ultimatum that either she went or he would
end the relationship.
Bourdeau chose to sacrifice her daughter's
On returning home she threw away some of
Karissa's clothes to make it look like she had run away. She also
called her boyfriend to tell him her daughter had gone missing.
It is unclear if MacCumber knew what she had
done. The pair attended Karissa's funeral together.
Police always suspected Boudreau but had no
evidence to charge her after Karissa's body was found in February
Undercover investigators only learned the
grisly details of the murder after a sting operation in which
officers posed as organised crime bosses who convinced Boudreau
they could destroy whatever evidence the police might have
Boudreau took the bait and began talking. She
was charged with murder in June 2008.
The judge Justice Margaret Stewart, looking
directly at Boudreau, told her: 'You can never call yourself
'The words, "Mummy, don't," are there to haunt
you for the rest of your life'.
N.S. woman admits she
strangled daughter to keep boyfriend
'Mommy, don't': girl's last words revealed as
Penny Boudreau sentenced
January 30, 2009
A woman from Bridgewater, N.S., has been handed
a life sentence with no parole eligibility for 20 years for
strangling her only child after her boyfriend gave her an
Penny Boudreau, 34, pleaded guilty Friday to
second-degree murder in the death of 12-year-old Karissa Boudreau.
The girl's frozen body was found on the
outskirts of Bridgewater on Feb. 9, 2008, about two weeks after
her mother reported her missing.
Boudreau, wearing a black T-shirt and jeans,
told the court, "I'm sorry."
When asked about the apology, Paul Boudreau,
Karissa's father, said bluntly: "Crocodile tears."
"Justice has been served," he added.
Justice Margaret Stewart, who handed down the
sentence at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Bridgewater, said the
horrible crime merited a harsh sentence.
"You can never call yourself mother in
conjunction with Karissa's name again," Stewart said.
Karissa's relatives sobbed loudly as Crown
attorney Paul Scovil read out the grim details of the girl's final
moments in an agreed statement of facts.
The court heard that Boudreau's boyfriend,
Vernon Macumber, told her she had to choose between him and her
daughter if she wanted to save their relationship.
Carried body to river
It was dark and snowy on Jan. 27, 2008, when
Boudreau drove the girl to a remote spot on William Hebb Road in
Hebbville, near Bridgewater.
They got out of the car and argued. Boudreau
tackled her daughter, knelt on her chest and strangled her with a
length of twine.
Boudreau could feel the girl's hands digging
into the ground as she struggled.
Karissa's last words were, "Mommy, don't."
Boudreau then put the body in the car and threw
away the twine in a coffee cup.
She drove to a spot along the LaHave River, and
as she dragged the body, pulled down Karissa's pants to give the
impression the girl had been sexually assaulted. She then rolled
the body down an embankment.
Boudreau later tossed several pieces of
Karissa's clothing in the garbage can at the local swimming pool.
When she got home, she told police her daughter
had run away. She also called friends and teachers to spread the
Stewart had harsh words for Boudreau.
"The words, 'Mommy, don't' from a trusting and
loving Karissa are there to haunt you for the rest of your life,"
Paul Boudreau is still trying to comprehend
what happened. Karissa was living with him at one point but moved
to Bridgewater to be with her mother.
"I can't call it anything other than a
senseless act," said Boudreau, adding his ex-girlfriend had
"Had I known this was going to happen, I would
have never let her go back. But what parent is going to say, 'No,
you can't go back and see your mother,'" he said.
Penny Boudreau was charged with first-degree
murder in June 2008. At the time, police said they believed
Karissa knew her killer.
Scovil said Boudreau had two motives: to save
her faltering relationship with Macumber and keep Karissa from
publicly calling her a bad mother.
He said he agreed to the lesser charge of
second-degree murder to give the family some closure and avoid the
uncertainty of a trial.
Murder carries an automatic life sentence. Both
the Crown and defence recommended parole eligibility after 20
"All in all, it was the right thing to do,"
As for Macumber, Scovil said there was no
evidence he wanted his girlfriend to kill her daughter. He said
Boudreau made it clear that she was solely responsible.
"We suspected very strongly that he must have
had an idea. But there was no evidence to suggest that he either
had concrete evidence or assisted in any way," Scovil said.
Undercover police investigation
The grim truth of what happened to the girl
came out as a result of an undercover police investigation.
Boudreau gave the details to officers posing as
organized crime bosses, who said they could help her destroy
evidence held by police.
Karissa's story has gripped the small Nova
Scotia community ever since her mother made a tearful plea at a
news conference for her daughter's safe return.
Boudreau said they had had a fight in the
parking lot of a grocery store, and when she came back to the car,
Karissa was gone.
Several searches of the area turned up no sign
of the young girl.
Two weeks later, a passerby discovered
Karissa's frozen body on the bank of the LaHave River.
Paul Boudreau said he had suspicions about his
ex-girlfriend from the moment Karissa was reported missing.
"Any parent knows their child, and when a child
does something way out of character, you know from Day 1 it's not
true," he said.
Rumours had been circulating around
Wendy Rhodenizer, a resident who helped
organized this week's candlelight vigil, said the town is going to
have an even tougher time healing now that the details of
Karissa's death are out.
"We'd heard some really vicious rumours at the
beginning, and we didn't know what to believe," she said. "I will
say one thing, I'm extremely impressed with the investigators in
Senior officers with the RCMP and local police
say hardened investigators were reduced to tears during their long
Though Penny Boudreau was sentenced to life
with no eligibility for parole for 20 years, she can apply for
early parole after 15 years under what is known as the faint-hope
clause of the Criminal Code.
The case to date
• January 27. Penny Boudreau notifies Bridgewater
Police at 7:30 p.m. that her 12-year-old daughter, Karissa, is
missing. She tells officers she left the girl in the car outside
the Bridgewater Mall Sobeys store following an argument and when
she returned Karissa was gone. Police and family members begin
looking for the child believing she has run away from home.
• January 28. Bridgewater Police contact other
police agencies and alert the media as they extend the search for
the missing 12 year old.
• January 29. Penny Boudreau makes a tearful plea
to her daughter to come home at a press conference at the
Bridgewater Police station. She explains that she took Karissa for
a drive on Sunday “to have a heart-to-heart” with her. They argued
over “typical teenage things” that really weren’t significant.
• January 30. Reports that Karissa is missing
continue to spread as the 12 year old’s photo is plastered in
stores and businesses around Bridgewater and beyond.
• February 1.
Penny Boudreau makes a second emotional appeal to her daughter or
anybody who knows where she is to make contact. “It’s hard not to
know where your kid is,” she tells reporters. Police admit they
have no evidence to confirm that Karissa was in the Sobeys lot on
Sunday because there are no surveillance videos of the area.
• February 6. A week of
searching on the ground and from the air turns up no sign of
Karissa. After two days in the LaHave, RCMP divers say they are
confident that the missing girl is not in the river.
• February 9. A passerby
discovers Karissa’s frozen body on the bank of the LaHave River
below Highway 331 just outside Bridgewater town limits in
Conquerall Bank at 11:30 a.m. Forensic investigators descend on
• February 14. The RCMP and
Bridgewater Police call a news conference to confirm that the body
found on the riverbank was Karissa and that the missing person
case has become a homicide investigation.
• February 15. Two Bridgewater
residents known to Karissa are released after being held for 24
hours for questioning. Police won’t confirm their identities, but
continue to say they are confident the murder was not random and
Karissa knew her killer.
• February 17. Police warn the
murder investigation could take days, weeks or months to complete.
“For us to do a proper job, we’re going to take the time we need
to take,” Sgt. John Collyer, Bridgewater’s acting deputy chief,
• February 18. Bridgewater
Police Chief Brent Crowhurst urges the community to feel safe,
asking residents to trust investigators when they say Karissa’s
murder is an isolated incident. He assures townspeople that more
than 20 investigators from his force and the RCMP are working on
the case and have the combined training and experience to resolve
• February 19. Hundreds of
people attend a funeral service for the slain 12 year old in
Shelburne County, where she previously lived and her father and
grandparents still reside. She’s buried in a cemetery in Clarks
• February 23. Bridgewater
mourns Karissa at a memorial service organized by nine churches.
She has become “Bridgewater’s daughter.”
• June 14. After four months
of assurances that they are making progress in the case but can’t
release details of the investigation, police announce they
arrested Penny Boudreau the previous evening and have charged her
with first-degree murder. Chief Brent Crowhurst says,
“Investigators feel confident that there was only one person
responsible for this homicide. We do not expect anyone else to be
charged in this case.”
• June 16. Penny Boudreau is
arraigned on a single count of first-degree murder. Crowds jeer
and yell profanities as she is escorted from the Bridgewater
courthouse in handcuffs. Crown attorney Paul Scovil won’t say how
Karissa died, but confirms that the charge indicates the crime was
planned and deliberate. Court documents reveal that police believe
she was killed in Bridgewater on January 27, the same day her
mother reported her missing.
• June 24. Concerned residents
are disappointed when they show up for Penny Boudreau’s second
court appearance and she does not. A Halifax defence lawyer
appears on her behalf and has the case bumped to July 15 so
documents can continue changing hands.
• July 15. Defence lawyer Pat
Atherton appears in Bridgewater provincial court on Penny
Boudreau’s behalf again. Disclosure of the Crown’s evidence is
ongoing and the case is adjourned until September 3.
• September 3. The case is
adjourned again without Penny Boudreau’s attendance. She remains
in custody in the Burnside correctional centre.
• October 22. Penny Boudreau
doesn’t appear for her latest court date, but defence lawyer Pat
Atherton waives his client’s right to a preliminary hearing, which
moves the case to the Supreme Court. Mr. Atherton continues to
refuse to comment on the case, but Crown attorney Paul Scovil
speculates that the move may mean the defence is satisfied the
Crown could meet the minimal test at the preliminary hearing
level. The case is scheduled for December 3 to set a trial date.
• December 4. The accused mom
makes her second appearance in a Bridgewater courtroom, this time
for arraignment in the Supreme Court. She rocks back and forth,
periodically wiping tears from her face, as lawyers discuss dates
for future court appearances. Crown and defence are still talking.
Penny Boudreau is scheduled to return to court on January 30.
• January 27, 2009. About 200
people attend a candlelight memorial at Shipyards Landing marking
the one-year anniversary of Karissa’s reported disappearance and
• January 30, 2009. Penny
Boudreau pleads guilty to second-degree murder and is sentenced to
life in prison with no chance of parole for 20 years. The court
hears that she killed Karissa because the child was in the way of
her relationship with her boyfriend.
Mom charged with murder in
Karissa Boudreau case
June 14, 2008
Police in Nova Scotia say the mother of
12-year-old Karissa Boudreau has been charged with her daughter's
murder, four months after the girl's body was found.
Officials told a news conference held Saturday
in Bridgewater that they arrested Penny Boudreau, 33, in Halifax
"She will answer to the charge of first-degree
murder," said RCMP Supt. Blair McKnight, the officer in charge of
criminal investigations in the province.
Bridgewater Police Chief Brent Crowhurst said
there are no other suspects wanted in connection with Boudreau's
"Investigators feel confident that there is
only one person responsible for this homicide," he said. "We do
not expect anyone else to be charged in this case."
Penny Boudreau reported her daughter missing on
Jan. 27 after she apparently went missing in a supermarket parking
lot. On Feb. 9, a passerby found Karissa's frozen body on the
nearby banks of the LaHave River.
After an autopsy was performed on Karissa's
body, police said they were treating her death as a homicide. They
did not release any details about how the girl was killed.
The city of 8,000, about a 90-minute drive
southwest of Halifax, hadn't recorded a homicide since 1993.
Residents were stunned by the news of the girl's death.
"This is Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. Nothing like
this has ever happened," said resident Candice Hubley.
Mayor Carrol Publicover said news of Boudreau's
arrest would come as a relief to his town.
"As time went on, while police assured people
it was an isolated incident . . . people started to wonder what
the circumstances might have been," he said. "The arrest today is
hopefully the beginning of the end of this whole situation and
people will eventually be able to bring closure to it."
McKnight said Penny Boudreau will appear in
provincial court in Bridgewater on Monday.
The mother's account
Penny Boudreau had said she argued with Karissa
on the day she went missing. She told police she had left her
daughter in her vehicle before going to the supermarket. Upon
returning, she discovered the Grade 6 student was gone.
Two days later, she made an emotional plea to
the media and public to help her get her daughter back.
"I'm trying not to think the worst. It's plain
and simple hell. Not knowing where your kids are is horrible," she
said at the news conference.
Police had arrested and released two suspects
in the days following the discovery of Karissa's body. While
they told the tight-knit community to be vigilant, police had also
said that they were treating Karissa's murder as an isolated
At Karissa's funeral, Rev. Perry Ingersoll
had praised her friendly personality, "winning smile" and love for
animals. Her teachers and friends described Karissa as a typical
youngster who liked to sing and listen to pop music.
Missing girl was murdered
Police continue probe into
Karissa Boudreau's death
By Lisa Brown - Southshorenow.ca
February 19, 2008
BRIDGEWATER - Police say it may take days,
weeks or months to complete the investigation into the murder of
12-year-old Karissa Boudreau and they're asking people to be
"It's going to take as long as it's going to
take," Sgt. John Collyer of the Bridgewater Police Service said
Sunday. "For us to do a proper job, we're going to take the time
we need to take."
Police called a press conference February 14 to
confirm that the body discovered along the LaHave River five days
earlier was that of the missing Bridgewater girl and to announce
that her death was a homicide. They released few details, refusing
to say how or when Karissa died, or if she died where she was
Since then, there has been a frenzy of media
attention and public scrutiny as people jockey for word about the
While police say they understand that the
community came to care about a child many had never met in the two
weeks that she was missing and the days since, they also say they
need time to ensure the probe into her death is completed
"We want to make sure we do the best job we
possibly can, obviously for Karissa's family, for Karissa and for
the public. If we rush into court with only half a case, we all
know what the results are going to be and that's not going to
benefit anybody," Sgt. Collyer, the town's acting deputy chief,
Bridgewater Police had launched a large-scale
investigation when the girl was missing.
That has intensified since her body was
discovered in the snow just outside town limits in Conquerall Bank
near the old Irving parking lot. It is now a joint investigation
with the RCMP. More than 20 officers are working on the case,
including members of the RCMP's major crime unit and the
integrated street squad.
Following last Thursday's announcement that the
12 year old had been murdered, police say they've received a lot
"There has been a flood of new information come
in … since this was announced as a homicide. We very much want to
encourage people to contact us. No piece of information is too
trivial," Sgt. Collyer said.
Two people were arrested Thursday and held for
questioning for 24 hours. They were released Friday morning with
no charges laid.
"Obviously the investigators,
for whatever reason, believed that these individuals may or may
not have had some information that was important to this case and
they wanted to speak to them," Sgt. Collyer said.
By law, police can only hold a suspect for 24
hours without laying charges. That does not mean the suspect
cannot be arrested again at a later date.
A third person, described as a "person of
interest" in the case, was questioned Thursday and released the
There has been wide-scale speculation about the
identity of the two people who were arrested and released, but
police refuse to name them. Authorities have only said they are
Bridgewater residents who knew Karissa.
Sgt. Collyer would not confirm if police had
questioned the pair further over the weekend.
"I really can't comment on that. That would be
tipping the hand of the investigators," he said.
He did, however, verify that to his knowledge
officers working the case have no other suspects.
"The two suspects remain suspects," he said.
Police have also executed several search
warrants connected to the case, but have refused to release any
details. There have been reports that at least one was at Jubilee
Apartments, where Karissa lived with her mother, Penny Boudreau,
and her mother's boyfriend, Vernon MacCumber. Neighbours have also
said that police removed Ms Boudreau's car, a red Neon, and
possibly a second blue car.
Investigators had the assistance of a criminal
profiler late last week, an RCMP officer who was on vacation in
Nova Scotia and volunteered his services.
"He reviewed our investigation and felt we were
on the right track," Sgt. Collyer said.
The Nova Scotia medical examiner's office
released Karissa's body to her father, Paul Boudreau, on Saturday.
A memorial service is planned for Tuesday at 2 p.m. in Barrington,
southwest of Shelburne, where he resides. Karissa lived with her
father last summer and until mid-November when she chose to move
to Bridgewater to be with her mother.
On January 27, Ms Boudreau reported that her
daughter was missing. She told police she'd last seen Karissa at
5:30 p.m. when, following an argument, the girl chose to remain in
the car while her mother went into the Sobeys in the Bridgewater
Mall to buy a few items. When she returned 15 minutes later, Ms
Boudreau said her daughter was gone. She said she drove around
looking for Karissa before calling police at 8:30 p.m.
That sparked a large-scale search for the 12
year old, which included ground search and rescue volunteers, a
Department of Natural Resources helicopter, RCMP divers, Child
Find, internet groups and countless citizens who put up posters in
the town, the county and beyond.
The search seemed to end February 9 when police
confirmed they'd found the body of a young, white female and
people waited to learn if it was the missing girl.
From the time they first announced that Karissa
was murdered, police have downplayed the need for increased
caution in the community.
"The investigators feel this is an isolated
incident and I would suggest that Bridgewater is a pretty safe
community most of the time," Sgt. Collyer said at last week's
Mayor Carroll Publicover said he was shocked to
learn that Karissa had been murdered.
"I grieve for that little girl and I grieve for
all those affected by her loss, that includes her classmates and
her friends. It's a shocking state of affairs that we have a young
girl 12 years old who is a victim of homicide. That's a very
disquieting reality for the whole community," he said.
The mayor added he understands that people are
upset and concerned for the safety of their children. However, he
wants to assure residents that investigators are doing their best
to solve Karissa's murder and he believes they will solve it.
"They've deployed every possible resource they
can to deal with this matter effectively and will continue to do
so," Mayor Publicover said.
Bridgewater's last murder occurred in 1992 when
musician Joseph Laurendeau, 41, was stabbed to death. Charles
Zwicker was charged with murder, but later pleaded guilty to
From missing to murdered
January 27. Karissa Boudreau is reported
missing at 8:30 p.m. Her mother, Penny Boudreau, tells police
her 12-year-old daughter waited in the car outside the
Bridgewater Mall Sobeys store following an argument while she
went inside to buy a few items. When she returned about 15
minutes later, she says Karissa was gone. Police and family
members begin looking for the child believing she has run away
from home. As a winter storm hits the South Shore, a search dog
fails to turn up any sign of Karissa in the Sobeys parking lot.
January 31. Skies finally clear and two
police officers scour the LaHave River, the Bridgewater Mall,
wooded areas around Bridgewater and east and west along Highway
103 from a Department of Natural Resources helicopter. They see
no evidence of Karissa.
February 1. Penny Boudreau makes a second
emotional appeal to her daughter or anybody who knows where she
is to make contact. "It's hard not to know where your kid is,"
she tells reporters. Police admit they have no evidence to
confirm that Karissa was in the Sobeys lot on Sunday because
there are no surveillance videos of the area, but say the family
has been co-operative. "We do not have any evidence to point to
anything that is criminal," Sgt. John Collyer says.
February 14. The RCMP and Bridgewater Police
hold a press conference to confirm that the body found on the
riverbank was Karissa and that the missing person case has
become a homicide investigation. Three people are questioned in
connection with the girl's death and one is released. Police
execute several search warrants in the Bridgewater area, but
won't reveal details.
February 16. The Nova Scotia medical
examiner's office releases Karissa's body to her father, Paul
Boudreau. A memorial service is planned for February 19 at 2
p.m. in Barrington, southwest of Shelburne where he lives.
February 17. Police warn the murder
investigation could take days, weeks or months to complete. "For
us to do a proper job, we're going to take the time we need to
take," Sgt. John Collyer, Bridgewater's acting deputy chief,
February 18. Bridgewater Police Chief Brent
Crowhurst urges the community to feel safe, asking residents to
trust investigators when they say Karissa's murder is an
isolated incident. He assures townspeople that more than 20
investigators from his force and the RCMP are working on the
case and have the combined training and experience to resolve
it. "From our investigation, we are satisfied there is no
jeopardy for residents of Bridgewater and surrounding areas. We
don't believe for a minute that it was a random act that could
happen again," the chief says.
No sign of missing girl
Police and family baffled by 12 year old's
By Lisa Brown - Southshorenow.ca
February 19, 2008
BRIDGEWATER - More than a week after
12-year-old Karissa Paige Boudreau went missing, police, family
members and an entire community remain mystified by her
As of Monday morning, Bridgewater Police
continued to chase leads trying to determine the Grade 6 student's
whereabouts as they have since January 27. However, acting deputy
chief Sgt. John Collyer said tips are slowing to a crawl.
"The tips kind of trickled down almost to stop
over the weekend," Sgt. Collyer said. "We are, however, going to
be looking at bringing in a dive team … and we're also trying to
get the helicopter up again today. With the winds that we had over
the weekend and the thawing, there's more of the river open.
Again, we want to try and whittle that down, whether there's a
possibility of her being in the river or not."
Karissa was last seen in the Bridgewater Mall
parking lot near Sobeys around 5:30 p.m. on January 27. She'd
argued with her mother and chose to wait in the family's red Dodge
Neon while Penny Boudreau went inside to buy a few items.
When Ms Boudreau returned 10 or 15 minutes
later, Karissa was gone. Believing her daughter had walked off, Ms
Boudreau drove around looking for her and went home. When there
was still no sign of the 12 year old by 8:30 p.m., her mother
called the police.
Officers looked for Karissa and brought in a
ground search and rescue dog to try to track her, all without
success. At that point, police believed the girl had run away.
They notified other police services and went
public with their search late the following day when there was
still no sign of Karissa.
On January 29, Ms Boudreau made the first of
two public appeals for her daughter's return. At a press
conference called by the police, the tearful mother pleaded with
her daughter to make contact.
"Karissa, we love you. We don't know where you
are, but just come home or call or something, please," Ms Boudreau
"We're all worried. We just want you home safe.
It's not like we're going to get mad. We just want you home safe,
please," she added.
Karissa's father, Paul Boudreau, also appealed
to his daughter
"Karissa, we just want you to come home, honey.
Just come home," he said.
Ms Boudreau explained the argument she'd had
with her daughter was neither unusual nor important.
"It wasn't like a big argument," she said. "I
took her for a drive that day just to try to have a heart-to-heart
with her. In a car she can't get away and slam her door like she
usually does to me. I just wanted to try to reach out to her as a
mom and set some things straight as far as typical teenage
Ms Boudreau said Karissa didn't like what she
had to say and, as usual, didn't want to go in the grocery store
with her. She said her daughter wasn't happy living in the
family's current apartment and hasn't made a lot of friends since
moving to Bridgewater.
Karissa's parents live apart. She has been a
student at Bridgewater Elementary School since mid-November. Prior
to that, she attended Hillcrest Academy in Shelburne for two and a
half months while living with her father. Last year, she was a
student in Hebbville.
Sgt. Collyer said police are particularly
concerned because of Karissa's attire at the time of her
disappearance. She was wearing a black hoodie, black vest and blue
jeans with pink Crocs on her feet.
"What's most disturbing to us is that she was
dressed inappropriately for the weather," Sgt. Collyer said. "Here
on the South Shore we had a snowstorm that night. Weather
conditions were inclement at best."
Police have received no reports of any
suspicious or unusual activity in the parking lot around the time
Karissa disappeared. Investigators have reviewed surveillance
tapes from businesses around the Bridgewater Mall. They've
determined that Karissa's mother was in Sobeys as reported, but
there are no surveillance cameras on the parking lot so they
cannot confirm that the girl was there or what direction she might
have taken if she left.
They called Lunenburg County Ground Search and
Rescue to an area on the William Hebb Road in Hebbville after
receiving a tip Tuesday evening. Volunteers combed the area for
four hours, but turned up nothing.
An RCMP diver studied the LaHave River behind
the mall early last week, but determined it was doubtful that
Karissa went into the water.
"From our point of view, it's not likely she
went into the river. However, we can't completely rule it out,"
Sgt. Collyer said. "We're about 90 per cent certain she's not
there, but again there's always that other factor."
When the skies finally cleared on January 31,
two police officers spent three hours in a Department of Natural
Resources helicopter scouring the area around the Bridgewater
Mall, woods surrounding Bridgewater and more than 60 kilometres
along Highway 103. Sgt. Collyer said they took another close look
at the river behind the mall and the William Hebb Road, but saw
Investigators have also spoken with Karissa's
friends here and in Shelburne. They're monitoring her MSN account
and Facebook, but haven't found any clues to her disappearance.
They know she had only a few dollars, no wallet and no cellphone.
Meanwhile, missing persons posters have been
plastered around Bridgewater and stretched across the province.
Child Find Nova Scotia is assisting and more than 13,000 people
have joined six Facebook groups to spread the word about the
girl's disappearance on the internet and offer support to her
Bridgewater Police called a second press
conference Friday where it was clear that Ms Boudreau still
believes Karissa is in hiding.
"Please, just reach out to someone. At least
call us and let me know you're okay," the crying mother said. "The
main thing is I just want somebody to come forward, if not Karissa
herself, somebody let me know. It's hard to not know where your
While her family describes Karissa as a loner
who likes to spend a lot of time in her room, they say she's
otherwise a typical 12-year-old girl. She likes singing and
dancing to her favourite music, playing video games and watching
Sgt. Collyer said officers are continuing to
pursue all possible avenues in the case, but admitted they, too,
are mystified by Karissa's disappearance. They continue to follow
tips from the public, some now from other provinces.
"We've had some sightings. We have not been
able to conclusively say that it was her," he said.
Investigators are also probing the possibility
of foul play, including interviewing family members and trying to
determine when Karissa was last seen by someone outside the
"This has been a criminal investigation almost
from Day 1. That would be standard operating procedure for any
police agency where the circumstances are a mystery," Sgt. Collyer
"We do not have any evidence to point to
anything that is criminal at this point and, believe me, we've
explored that, but we'll continue to explore down that road. The
family has been very co-operative with us in anything we've asked
and we have no reason to believe, at this point, that there's any
reason to disbelieve what mom has told us," he said.
Police are also considering a report of an
attempted abduction in Liverpool two weeks before Karissa's
disappearance, but have nothing to connect the two events.
"Our investigators are aware of it. It is
obviously something that they would look at, but in the absence of
any information such as somebody coming forward and somebody
having sighted a vehicle of that type here, it's difficult for us
to make any kind of link between the two incidents," Sgt. Collyer
"At this point, … we don't know that this is an
abduction. We don't know if this is Karissa running away. We just
don't know. That is the problem," he added.
The investigation into Karissa's disappearance
is continuing and police are asking anyone who may have any
information to come forward. She is described as five feet tall
and 130 pounds, with shoulder-length brown hair.
If anyone knows Karissa Boudreau's whereabouts,
they are asked to call the Bridgewater Police at 543-2464.