Friday, September 19, 2008
ARTICLE #52) She vanished a year ago today
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
She vanished a year ago today
Kamloops This Week by Cassidy Olivier
Glendene Grant woke up this morning and thought about her daughter, Jessie Foster.
It was a year ago today that the 21-year-old (now 22) last spoke to her family before disappearing into the hot Las Vegas air.
Her sister Crystal, the last to speak with Jessie over the phone, had been planning a trip to Las Vegas for a visit.
She could hear Jessie’s boyfriend, Peter Todd, joking in the background about how he wasn’t looking forward to having a tourist in the house.
Crystal’s last words were: “I’ll talk to you soon. I love you.”
No one has heard from Jessie since.
“The time flew by, but flew by in a bad way,” Grant says while sitting on a couch in her living room this week.
The light from a warm March sun filters through the drawn blinds and slashes streaks across her tired, kind face.
“There is kind of a sadness there all the time.”
Initially, Grant had planned on marking the anniversary of Jessie’s disappearance by flying to Nevada, something she has down twice as part of her exhaustive search to locate her beloved “Jessie Bessie.”
On second thought, she changed her mind, choosing instead to remain at home to be close to her three remaining daughters and the computer where she spends most of her time working on Jessie’s case.
Ideally, she said, she would have preferred to sleep through this day.
But, like all days since Jessie’s disappearance, there is work to be done.
There are files to be added to the 45 binders documenting Jessie’s case over the past year.
There are additional e-mails to be added to the 2,100 Grant has sent out during the same period.
Funds still need to be raised to pay for the private investigator working on the case and the reward the family has posted.
Grant says she will continue to do all of this until Jessie returns home.
“It is huge,” she says.
“It covers everything that we do.”
Despite all the work the family has done over the past year — including organizing fundraisers, hiring private investigators and taking the story to television’s prime time — nothing has been learned about Jessie’s whereabouts, although some startling discoveries have been made.
While in Las Vegas, Foster was arrested four times for prostitution, leading to speculation that her boyfriend Todd, a Jamaican national, was actually a pimp and not the race-car driver/trust-fund baby Jessie’s family had been led to believe.
The discovery, coupled with additional information dug up by the private investigator, has led Grant to believe Jessie somehow became involved in a human-trafficking ring.
The case has since been transferred from the North Las Vegas Police to the Anti-Trafficking League Against Human Slavery and the Metro Las Vegas Police Department, giving Grant some optimism there will soon be a break in the case.
Still, she hasn’t heard much in the past few weeks and the stress has taken its toll on the family.
Grant has had trouble working as her mind has been “like a sieve.”
She has found it difficult to focus.
Similarly, Crystal has found it difficult to hold down a job as her mind frequently wanders to her departed sister.
Jim Hoflan, Jessie’s father, has long since mourned his daughter as dead, and has said as much to media from his home in Calgary.
However, despite the odds, Grant remains optimistic Jessie will turn up, and refuses move on or give up her search.
Additionally, both mother and daughter plan on going back to work after the anniversary passes.
Both have jobs lined up.
Both have hope.
“I honestly feel that I still have a connection with her,” Grant says.
“A mom has a little bit more of a connection to her kids — it is not anything that is explainable.
“I think that when that [Jessie’s death] happens, something in my heart will change.
“I haven’t come to that place in my heart.”
In the meantime, it is the small things the family continues to miss as they struggle to make do, like telling Jessie about upcoming weddings and additions to the family.
There is, they say, a lot to tell her.
This week, Crystal was awarded her learner’s driver’s licence, a small victory that was made incomplete by the absence of her younger sister.
“I could just see the look on her face,” Crystal says, mimicking how Jessie’s mouth would have cracked open in shock with the news.
Pausing, she continues.
“I wish I could have called her and told her.”
For more information on the case, visit http://www.jessiefoster.ca.