PHOTOS: Tamra Keepness disappeared from Regina home 8 years ago
On the night of July 5, eight years ago, five-year-old Tamra Keepness vanished from her Ottawa Street home in Regina's Heritage neighbourhood and has never been seen since.
Photo provided by the Regina Police Service.
It is a sad anniversary few saw coming, at least not without some kind of resolution.
As happens every year on the anniversary of her disappearance, a BBQ was held to remind people a little girl is still missing.
Her great aunt Marilyn Keepness attends every year. But she has few words for the person who may hold the one piece of information that would bring Tamra home.
"Talk to the police. This is a child, a helpless child, that needs an adult's help. A responsible adult."
The night Tamra went missing
The night the little girl went missing, there was no adult in the house. During the early hours of that night, her mother, stepfather and another man were coming and going while Tamra and her five siblings slept.
Days after she was reported missing, the police chief at the time, Cal Johnston, held a news conference to talk about what became the most high-profile missing person case in Regina's modern history.
Johnston said it is still unclear exactly what happened that night. In 2004, he explained that any possibility that the little girl's disappearance was from an innocent accident was remote and they began investigating the possibility of "human interference" from when she was first reported missing.
"We're still in that situation and it's primarily due to unanswered questions we have with respect to activities around the home that night and people who could have had access," he said.
At the time Keepness went missing, all people saw was Tamra's heartbroken mother Lorena.
"Someone has her out there, someone does and he or she or them, they're just afraid to bring her forward," she told reporters in 2004.
Tamra's siblings were taken away from their mother and the family have slowly disappeared from the headlines.
Great aunt looks for resolution, police continue investigation
Marilyn Keepness still holds out hope that the final piece of puzzle will be revealed and a resolution to Tamra's story found. It is a sentiment echoed by Regina Police Chief Troy Hagen.
"Hoping that we can find her, and hopefully find her alive and healthy. That's obviously the ultimate goal but certainly we need information."
Elizabeth Popowich, also with the Regina Police Service, says it will take just one piece of information to find a resolution.
"It is never too late to bring forward information in this case, you can be assured that it will be acted upon," she said. "It's never too late to do the right thing."
Investigators have followed up on 1800 pieces of information and still they are no closer to understanding what happened to the little girl.
"We haven't forgotten and this is still very much an open investigation," Popowich said.
A $25,000 reward is still available for anyone that comes forward with information that leads to Tamra being found.
Popowich believes the reward has never been increased because money may not be the motivating factor to see this case concluded.
"Sometimes the passage of time can change things. People may want to clear their conscience, people who perhaps at one time or another had proximity or relationship to other key people - maybe that's changed over the years," she said.
"We're very hopeful that that information is still out there and that it will come to us one day and it will make the entire case make sense."
Until that time, a little girl sadly remains a face on a missing persons poster.
Edited by CJME's Adriana Christianson and Karen Brownlee.