“One minute we were talking and laughing, I turned my head to speak to my boyfriend and turned back, and she was gone, just gone.”
This is what Claudia Williams told the CBC’s investigative reporter Connie Walker in an eight- part podcast called “The Tip” about the night her sister Alberta Williams disappeared nearly 3 decades ago.
Connie Walker’s investigation into Alberta’s death started with an email from retired RCMP officer Garry Kerr who was initially assigned the case.
The email read: I know who killed Alberta Williams. It was a single sentence and according to Walker it was the most chilling email she has ever received.
BC was the Williams’ sister’s home. Their reserve was the Gitanyow Band, and people adored them. But the sisters wanted to make money.
It was a nice summer night in Prince Rupert, BC. The town was bustling because of the fish cannery.
There were hundreds of people coming and going and there were many Indigenous workers at the cannery in the summer of 1989.
After long work shifts, usually fifteen-hour days, workers would go out for a drink, and mingle.
It was the norm.
“Everyone knew everyone,” said Claudia Williams in episode one.
“A certain crowd would meet up at either Bogey’s or Popey’s and have a good time, then we would go home and sleep.”According to Claudia, she and her sister were only going to be in Prince Rupert for the summer.
“We were just going to make money and return home at the end of the summer,” says Williams in the first episode. “That was the plan.”
Everyone in the bar as well as family members were adamant about the last time they saw the 24-year-old Alberta alive.
She got into a black truck with a non-native man and her uncle Jack, who was driving.
Others who were at the bar that night and when questioned by Walker said it was white truck.
On September 21, 1989, RCMP found Alberta’s body in the bushes along Highway 16, now known as
The Highway of Tears. She had been sexually assaulted and brutally murdered.
Claudia says her parents never got over the grief of losing a child, but they were not immune.
Two years prior to Alberta’s death, her older sister Pamela was killed and after Alberta was found, they had to relive the grief of losing another daughter all over again.
Even though the Williams’ sisters have been buried for 3 decades, they will get matching headstones.
According to the RCMP, Indigenous women are more likely to be murdered or live a life of violence than Caucasian women.
The RCMP says Alberta’s case is at the top of the missing person’s list because of the new information from the podcast.
According to the RCMP, there are over 1,100 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Surely there can be no more.
Podcasts like this one will help motivate justice for all missing or murdered Indigenous women and girls.