Friday, September 19, 2008

ARTICLE #90) Jessie remains mystery

Sunday, December 23, 2007
Jessie remains mystery
Edmonton Sun by Daniel MacIsaac

Members of Jessie Foster's family say they're frustrated a woman who may have information on her disappearance seems to have slipped through the fingers of Canadian authorities.

Foster's mother Glendene Grant has been trying to speak to American Yvonne Hubrechtsen since her 23-year-old daughter went missing after being lured from Alberta to Las Vegas in May 2005, a suspected victim of a prostitution ring.

"This has haunted me," Grant said from her Kamloops, B.C., home. "Because when she first went down to Las Vegas in May 2005 I asked her, 'If anything happens to you or if you go missing, who can I call?' "

Grant says Foster, who lived in Calgary, gave her the number for Yvonne "Angel" Hubrechtsen - but that Grant never needed to use it until all communication with her daughter broke off in March the following year.

When Grant eventually tried the number, the woman who answered refused to co-operate - and she's never been able to talk to her.

So, Grant says it was both shocking and distressing to learn from media reports this week that Hubrechtsen had been in Vancouver until authorities arrested and deported her back to the States on Wednesday.

Vancouver police took Hubrechtsen into custody on a Canada Border Services warrant for having illegally entered the country by not revealing her criminal record.

Grant is convinced that Hubrechtsen, just 22-years-old herself, was part of the group of acquaintances that lured Jessie to Vegas with promises of a lavish lifestyle, and turned her into a sex slave.

Grant has received support from groups like the U.S.-based Anti-Trafficking League Against Slavery - and says she can only hope Foster is being held somewhere against her will and is, at least, still alive.

But she also complains of a lack of co-operation from Las Vegas police in solving Foster's disappearance - or in cracking down on the sex trade industry.

"It's just the girls who get arrested, who may or may not be doing it by choice," she said.

"They're not busting the pimps or the escort services - just the little girls."

Edmontonian Crystal Foster, 24, says she's taking her younger sister's disappearance particularly hard because it was two years ago on Christmas Day that she saw Foster for the last time - at the airport heading back to Vegas and the fate that awaited her there.

"I looked back over my shoulder and she was looking at me with an expression that didn't make sense to me at the time," Crystal recalled.

"I thought maybe she was thinking 'I'm gonna miss you guys,' but later I realized it was something deeper like a silent scream: 'Don't let me go!'"

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