Victim's Mom Hopeful Community Rally Will Break 'Code Of Silence'
Prince George, BC - A grieving mother in Vanderhoof will make the short drive to nearby Fort St. James later today to participate in a march and smudge ceremony on the Nak'azdli Reserve that's meant to honour her son - and rally residents of both communities in the wake of four incidents involving young people.
Eileen Bjornson's 28-year-old son, Fribjon, was reported missing to police on January 21st. He was last seen at the 7-11 Store in Vanderhoof in the early morning hours of January 12th. His truck was located near Fort St. James on January 23rd. And RCMP cordoned off an abandoned home on Lower Road in the community on February 2nd after the discovery of human remains. Police confirmed the victim's identity two days later, but are releasing few details surrounding Fribjon Bjornson's death.
28-year-old Perry 'PJ' Sebastian of Burns Lake has been missing since just after Christmas. He has family in Fort St. James. 20-year-old Madison Scott of Vanderhoof has been missing since attending an outdoor party and camp-out near Hogsback Lake last May. And the body of 15-year-old Loren Leslie of Fraser Lake was discovered off an out-of-service logging road in the fall of 2010. Her accused killer, Cody Legebokoff, is charged in connection with the deaths of four women, in total, and is in jail awaiting trial.
"There are four young people missing/murdered in our small area in just over a year - how does that happen?" queries Bjornson. "How does that happen in a small community? How does it happen that nobody speaks out? How does it happen? My son was no different than anybody else's son. If it can happen to my son, it can happen to anybody's son."
Eileen Bjornson says she's hoping to unite the communities against an underlying culture of drugs and violence that might not be directly responsible for these cases, but, she feels, lies at the base root of what's going on in the area. "I don't think there's a connection with any (of the cases), but it's the fact that in these small communities, these things can happen and people don't come forward."
"Everybody seems to know (what happened in her son's case), but nobody seems to say it to the police," she says. "People need to come forward, they need to take a stand and say it's not okay - and if you don't say anything and you know, you're condoning it. That's what allows it to continue."
Bjornson is hoping today's gathering will show those that may have key pieces of information on her son's case or one of the others, that the local communities are behind them, and that will give them the strength needed to contact police.
North District RCMP Media Relations Officer, Constable Lesley Smith, says, "We're speaking to a number of individuals who have come forward and continue to come forward, but we're still missing that valuable information from somebody out there who knows something."
Smith says someone has that "vital piece of information that can bring closure to the family, as well as the community" and they need to realize it's time to break their code of silence and come forward. She's urging anyone with information to use one of the many lines of communication to pass it on to RCMP - be it social media, anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or calling the Fort St James Detachment directly at 250-996-8269.
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