Walking to remember PJ Sebastian

The walkers’ support truck is seen on the road during the Walk To Remember Perry Jr. Sebastian. (Submitted photo)

The Walk To Remember that kicked off on May 31 at the Nee Tahi Buhn First Nation aims to keep awareness high of the case of Perry Jr. Sebastian, who is missing.

The walkers were expected to arrive in Hagwilget on June 5.

READ MORE: Walk to Remember Perry Jr Sebastian

The Indigenous man was last seen on Dec. 26, 2011, near Southbank. His case remains active but unsolved.

LOOK BACK: Burns Lake RCMP continue to search for Perry Sebastian

Twenty-two people joined walk organizer Kim Sebastian on the more than 255 kilometre journey from Nee Tahi Buhn to Hagwilget, near Hazelton. They aim to arrive at Hagwilget by June 7.

Since she posted the event on Facebook in mid-May, Kim told Lakes District News that at least one tip into her cousin Perry’s case had come in, along with a lot of support.

Kim believes Perry met his end after being enticed to the Southside in drug-related circumstances.

“It could be a fight got out of hand or he was murdered. Whatever the predicament, he is gone,” she said.

The purpose of the walk, she said, is “ultimately to bring PJ home.”

“I hope others never feel what I feel. I hope others can take precautionary measure to not go missing as well.”

Officially, Perry’s case hasn’t made any recent progress.

“[The case] is active and ongoing. As with any missing person investigation, it will remain open until such time that the location of the individual is learned. All tips received are investigated. I am not aware of any new details with respect to this matter,” said RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Madonna Saunderson.

For Mavis Goertzen, another relative of Perry, the situation is baffling, but she believes he died in suspicious circumstances.

“I feel that he’s dead because it’s been so long. We still have hope but we’re looking at almost eight years [since he went missing]. My sister-in-law still has hope.”

“When we went searching on the Southside for him we searched for months just trying to find some kind of clues. His auntie lived in Burns Lake at the time, she’s my sister-in-law. I’ve known PJ since he was about 2. She’s pretty sure he got involved with the wrong crowd. We have no proof of course,” she explained.

According to tips Goertzen said she received, before Perry went missing he was involved with a woman from Vancouver. Something happened between them and a group of people they were with on the night of Dec. 26.

“My friend felt they went too far with him or he was being annoying or something like that. And they were drinking when that happened. They somehow disposed of him. My hunch is he’s probably in [Francois] Lake.”

Goertzen said that on the south shore of Francois Lake there is a blue house, and Perry’s body was dumped somewhere near there.

RCMP questioned the woman with whom Perry was involved, but she was cleared and nothing came of it, said Goertzen, who lives in Houston.

She has given the RCMP all of the notes she has written up on her findings, and the RCMP followed up, but there has been no serious progress.

“I don’t feel like they spent enough time on it as far as the investigation goes. It has torn my sister-in-law apart and her family. She hasn’t been able to sleep since he went missing,” Goertzen said.

The Houston resident wasn’t able to join the Walk To Remember but she hopes the journey raises more awareness not only of Perry’s case but those of other Indigenous people who have gone missing in the region.

“I’m hoping that it’ll maybe push the RCMP a little bit more. Because that’s how the family feels – there’s not enough manpower to investigate all these cases.”

“Trying to create more awareness is the biggest thing, so that more people come forward. By showing PJ’s picture on Facebook that’s how I got more tips. I think people being scared to come forward is half the problem. People are worried about their safety,” Goertzen said, though she couldn’t explain why people might feel afraid.

“It took me almost a year to get my friend to go to the RCMP with some tips.”

The Walk to Remember shows the need for more education on safety, Goertzen explained.

“We feel more education and programs need to be set up in every community because so many are becoming targets with the highway of tears. The vulnerable ones are taken. Our native communities have [done] some [work] with harm reduction and self-defence courses and the drug issues are another problem and most don’t carry the naloxone kits with them, which some training is done with the Smithers Friendship Center. A few of us are trained in these areas now and need to educate others.”

The walkers’ arrival in Smithers comes two days after friends and family of Jessica Patrick built a memorial for her in that town, and gathered to talk about her case.

RELATED: Family, friends of Jessica Patrick demand answers

Patrick was a member of the Lake Babine Nation and also from the Burns Lake region, and her body was found on Sept. 11, 2018 at Hudson Bay Mountain Lookout in Smithers.

A criminal investigation into her death is ongoing.


Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
Send Blair an email
Like Lakes District News on Facebook

 

Some of the walkers, at the Cheslatta Carrier Nation hold up a sign showing Perry Jr. Sebastian’s image and announcing the $11,500 reward for information leading to Sebastian’s location. (Submitted photo)

Some of the walkers wore these shirts bearing the message “Where’s PJ?” (Submitted photo)

Organizer Kim Sebastian (L) holds up a sign with Naida Sebastian (R) during the Walk To Remember. (Submitted photo)

Just Posted

Houston homicide suspect remanded in custody

A Houston man accused of the second degree murder of Elija Dumont… Continue reading

William Griffin arrested in Houston homicide

RCMP have now arrested William Griffin, the man wanted in connection to… Continue reading

Police look for suspect in Nov. 10 homicide

Victim identified as Elijah Dumont

B.C. First Nation Chief Ed John faces historic sex charges

John served as minister for children and families under then-premier Ujjah Dosanjh

Man hit, killed by vehicle in Fraser Lake

A man was struck and killed by a motor vehicle in Fraser… Continue reading

Bye bye Bei Bei: Giant panda born in U.S. zoo heads to China

Panda heads back to China as part of cooperative breeding program

B.C. to advocate for frustrated, confused, unhappy cellphone users, says premier

Maple Ridge New Democrat Bob D’Eith to advocate for more affordable and transparent cellphone options

B.C. man who killed Belgian tourist near Boston Bar gets life in prison, no parole until 2042

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

‘Very disrespectful’: B.C. first responder irked by motorists recording collisions on cellphones

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue deputy chief challenges motorists to break the habit

Daily cannabis linked to reduction in opioid use: B.C. researchers

Researchers looked at a group of 1,152 people in Vancouver who reported substance use and chronic pain

Bids down, costs up on Highway 1, B.C. independent contractors say

Rally protests NDP government’s union-only public construction

Members of little people community applaud change to drop ‘midget’ term

‘It’s not about sensitivity,’ says Allan Redford, the president of the Little People of Canada

Little progress in preventing sudden infant deaths since last report: BC Coroner

Coroners panel studied 141 sleep-related sudden infant deaths between 2013 and 2018

Most Read