Photo and story by Liny Lamberink
One year since a 42-year-old London woman was last seen in the city, friends gathered for a walk down Hamilton Rd. followed by a balloon release in her name.
According to London police, Shelley Desrochers was last seen Jan. 5, 2016 near Hamilton Rd. and Rectory St. — and organizers hoped the public demonstration would keep Desrochers’ disappearance in the public eye, while raising awareness.
Despite a frigid forecast, a group of around 30 people gathered at the Tim Hortons on Hamilton Rd. at 1 o’clock this afternoon and shared warm memories of their missing friend while walking towards Maitland Street, holding up signs that read “Our Missing Matter”, and “Have You Seen Shelley?”
Organizer Penny Drake made sure an information tag about Desrochers was secured to each of the purple and white balloons released at the intersection of Maitland St. and Hamilton, hopeful at least one would reach someone who didn’t already know about her friends disappearence.
“I hang on to hope every day,” explained Drake. “My friend has still not be found. Hope is everything.”
Andrea Parker, who says she’s known Desrochers since she was 15-years-old, is also hopeful the woman she describes as wonderful both inside and out will be found safe and sound.
“She’s an extremely loveable person, she’s just very affectionate, very kind, very bubbly. She loves her friends.”
But Parker says time is of the essence in such a case, and she’s frustrated how long it took London police to take Desrochers’ dissappearance seriously.
At first London police said she was last seen around 2 p.m. Jan. 2nd, 2016 near Ernest and Bradley avenues.
After investigating, police said they believed Desrochers was actually last seen on foot near Hamilton and Rectory around 10 a.m. on Jan. 5th.
It wasn’t until weeks after friends and family came forward about her disappearance that the London Police Service launched a formal missing persons case Feb. 1st — after she failed to access a bank account as anticipated three days prior.
Desrochers is described as white, five-foot-two, 141 lbs., with straight, long brown hair, a tattoo of a rose on her left upper arm and another of a heart on her right upper arm. She also has a distinctive walking style, described as “pigeon-toed” by police.
If you have any information regarding Shelley Desrochers, please call the dedicated tip line at 519-660-5842, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Information can also be sent in online anonymously to www.londoncrimestoppers.com.
Purple & white balloons released on Maitland & Hamilton, with tags of information about missing Shelley Desrochers. pic.twitter.com/6sq9zMguQJ
— AM980 London News (@AM980News) January 5, 2017