It’s been 40 years since a Chilliwack girl went missing, and RCMP are still hoping to find out what happened to her.
On Feb. 19, 1983 Joanne Pederson disappeared. On a cold and wet day, the girl was walking home with her sister and a cousin. The older girls bolted ahead after an argument and when Joanne got to her house it was locked and she couldn’t get in.
She walked to the nearby Penny Pincher convenience store near the corner of Vedder Road and Watson Road. Joanne called her mom from a payphone around 8:20 p.m., and that’s the last anyone heard from her. By the time her mom and stepfather arrived to pick her up around 30 minutes later, Joanne was gone.
According to Chilliwack Progress coverage, a massive search was conducted involving the RCMP, Chilliwack Search and Rescue and even armed forces members from CFB Chilliwack. The Progress offered a $1,000 reward for information, and tips were received. An unknown man wearing a brown jacket was seen with the girl in the phone booth, and only recently have police been able to identify that man. He was ruled out as a suspect, leaving RCMP no closer to cracking the case.
In September of 2011 an anonymous hand-written letter was delivered to police with ‘significant information’ that indicated it was legit. Nothing ever came of that either, but police say the investigation has never stopped and the Chilliwack RCMP Serious Crime Unit is still asking for help.
“This is still an active investigation and any tips received from the public are being follow-up with by investigators,” said Cpl. Carmen Kiener. “If you have any information relating to Joanne’s disappearance please contact the Chilliwack RCMP as we are still hopeful we can provide answers for Joanne’s family.”
She was last seen wearing a yellow t-shirt with a blue sweater, a pink sleeveless jacket and tan coloured pants. She had long brown hair and brown eyes. She stood four-foot-six and weighed 84 pounds.
She would be 50 years old now.
Anyone with info is asked to call the Chilliwack RCMP at 604-792-4611 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 and refer to file number 1983-2535.
- With files from Greg Knill and Robert Freeman