Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Lucy Johnson was reported missing in May 1965, four years after she was last seen by a neighbor in Surrey, British Columbia. She has now been found alive in Yukon.
When Canadian police were told in 1965 that Alaska native Lucy Johnson had been missing for four years, investigators treated her disappearance as a murder.
Her husband, Marvin, was hauled in for questioning and officers excavated the backyard of the home they shared with their young daughter, Linda Evans, in Surrey, British Columbia.
But more than five decades since her September 1961 disappearance, Johnson has now been found alive in the Yukon.
Evans, who was only 7 or 8 at the time her mother vanished, told the Surrey Leader that she thought her mother was dead.
“I’m still walking around in shock,” she told the newspaper. “I thought she was dead because there’s been no contact. Nothing.”
She has since learned she has four new-found half-siblings – three brothers and a sister.
Her only other brother, Daniel, passed away in his teens.
“I have a lot of questions,” she said. “And they’re all ‘Whys?’”
Royal Canadian Mounted Police highlighted Johnson's cold case last month and Evans purchased ads in a newspaper in northern B.C.
She also started some research on the Internet.
"We received a phone call from a woman in the Yukon who called and claimed that she had seen the picture of the missing person in the free newspapers and said the missing person we were looking for was actually her mother," Cpl. Bert Paquet, spokesman for Surrey RCMP, told the Canadian Broadcasting Company. "The stars aligned, the timing was perfect."
Police confirmed that Lucy Johnson, who is now aged 77, has another family in the Yukon.
Her husband died in the late 1990s. He was initially considered a suspect because he did not inform police that she was missing until May 14, 1965.
But when the backyard dig turned up no evidence, the case went cold for almost 52 years.
RCMP officers also compared DNA samples with those from unidentified human remains held by the BC Coroner's Service.
Although she has missed out on many years with her mom, Evans said she does not bear a grudge towards Johnson, who is of First Nations descent.
“I just hope I can be part of her life,” Evans, who is saving up for a visit, told the paper. “I’ll just give her a big hug and hope the words come easy.”
This story was originally published on Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:01 AM EDT