As a chef, she once prepared a fancy meal for prime minister Pierre Trudeau and some of the finest restaurants in the Yukon but Emily Osmond’s fascinating life ended with a question mark after she disappeared from her Saskatchewan acreage in 2007.
“She cooked for famous people,” her niece Mary Laplante told the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Wednesday in Saskatoon.
“Pierre Trudeau sent a chauffeur to take her to the airport, put her on a jet and fly her to Ottawa.”
Osmond returned to Saskatchewan after working as a chef in the Yukon, British Columbia, and Alberta.
She retired to a quiet life in Raymore, north of Regina, where she enjoyed nature and tended to her animals.
Going missing at 78 years of age was so out of character her relatives are still wondering if it’s real.
“She chopped wood, hauled her own water, and lived alone in the countryside,” said her daughter Lynda Johnny Silverfox.
“I miss seeing that smoke of her woodstove.”
The disappearance seemed even more unreal after relatives found her cane, purse, and van at home.
“She had arthritis in her hip. She couldn’t have walked very far,” said her niece Myrna Laplante.
But a three-day search by the RCMP yielded nothing and no sightings were ever reported.
A vehicle recovered from a nearby slough years later was found not to be connected to the case.
Since then the police have stopped looking although Laplante said the file remains open with the Saskatchewan RCMP’s historical case unit.
“We don’t know where she is,” Laplante told commissioner Michele Audette. “We have not heard from the RCMP in the last seven years.”
Laplante said the shock of losing a loved one and managing subsequent searches was a huge learning curve for the family, which is spread out across Saskatchewan and Yukon.
It was that experience they drew on when another relative went missing in Saskatchewan – her 17-year-old nephew Cody Wolfe in 2011.
“There was a massive response. The RCMP were very much involved,” Laplante said. “There were intense searches.
“But both remain missing.”
The double loss has changed them in many ways, Laplante added.
“This is our life now. We try to have a happy family. We try to live somewhat of a normal life.”
Laplante, who Audette described as a mentor to the inquiry as a member of the National Family Advisory Circle, said the Inquiry has the power to make recommendations to make searches easier for families in the future.
She said they need to be able to access a fund to help pay and feed searchers, offer rewards and take time off work.
She said they need a plan or guide on how to manage searches, and be able to use trained search and rescue personnel.
Laplante also called on anyone with information in either of the cases to come forward.
“Do the right thing,” she told the crowd in a downtown hotel banquet room. “Please help Lynda find her mom.”