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Without a trace: Today marks one year since Autumn Shaganash vanished

It has been one year since 'I last saw my sister, last felt her hug, heard her laugh. Oh, how I miss everything. She really looked up to me,' says Lili-Anne Moore
Lili-Anne Moore, the sister of Autumn Shaganash, right, reflected on a bus window, watches a news conference at Barrie police headquarters on Tuesday, Apr. 9. Police are utilizing bus signs and billboards to help find Shaganash, who has been missing since June 2023.

Today marks one year since 26-year-old Barrie resident Autumn Shaganash disappeared, with her last known location captured on a home surveillance video near Anne Street close to Sunnidale Park on June 10, 2023.

It has been one year since "I last saw my sister, last felt her hug, heard her laugh,” Lili-Anne Moore said in an interview. “Oh, how I miss everything. She really looked up to me.”

Moore is Autumn’s sister. The last time she saw her was on June 9, the day before she disappeared without a trace.

Barrie police handout. | Image supplied

Her family reported her missing on June 12, 2023.

Shaganash "vanished into thin air," according to one Barrie police official.

City police have said there has been no activity on her social media.

Her family has also said there has been no banking activity recorded anywhere and no health-card records generated by any kind of medical visits.

Her family has since hired Present Truth Investigations to work independently of local police in an attempt to find Shaganash.

Derwin Johnson, president of Present Truth Investigations, initially met with Shaganash’s sister, Lili-Anne Moore, on Jan. 23, 2024.

“We did have a few witnesses come forward, and leads have been forwarded to (Barrie police), but as you are aware, they will not share the results of their investigative efforts, or if the leads had substance,” Johnson said in a recent email.

“Unfortunately, we do not have anything else to report, but are continuing to work with the family,” he added.

Johnson ended the conversation by saying “we are chasing down a lead,” but did not go into specifics.

“There have been little to no updates,” Moore said on Sunday.

Although, she did say there was “a lead on a black car in (the) Sunnidale area asking a female for a ride,” by a witness. “And in the last footage of Autumn walking on Shelley Lane toward Letitia (Street) and Sunnidale (Road), there is a black car driving by her with his window rolled down looking at her."

Moore said the car in the video is similar to the one described by the witness, adding “we don’t know for sure, though. We don’t have any license plate information, unfortunately.”

One aspect of the private investigation revolves around a man Shaganash was last seen walking with while on her way to the city waterfront to watch the Barrie Airshow on June 10, 2023 — two days before she was reported missing to police by her family. He has been described as unco-operative by Johnson.

This screenshot of a surveillance video shows a man who was with Autumn Shaganash shortly before she disappeared in Barrie on June 10, 2023. He is carrying a backpack with his right arm, and with his left arm what appears to be one of a pair of skis. It has been reported they were supposedly discarding the skis. | Image supplied

City police say they are using all available means to try and locate Shaganash.

“Our focus all along has been to reunite her with her family, and we believe strongly somebody out there has the information that we need, and that’s the appeal we are going to make (this) week,” police communications co-ordinator Peter Leon said.

Moore describes her relationship with detectives as “very good."

"We are in contact often, and they are a text away when I need anything," she said.

Moore said there is a news conference with the police tentatively scheduled for Friday afternoon.

On April 9, Barrie police officials announced they had partnered with an advertising company to post signs on Barrie Transit buses and local billboards in an effort to locate Shaganash.

In what was called an investigative first for Barrie police, which began on April 1 and continued for the entire month, five Barrie Transit buses carried the message to “all corners of the city,” reminding residents and transit riders the investigation into Shaganash’s disappearance remains active and ongoing.

In addition to the buses, four digital billboards in Barrie carried a message police hope will generate tips from the public that could bring resolution to the investigation, which has “stymied detectives” for months, police say.

On Feb. 8, Police Chief Rich Johnston announced on behalf of the Barrie Police Services Board that a $50,000 reward had been approved for information confirming her whereabouts.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Barrie police major crime unit at 705-725-7025, ext. 2160.

Timeline of events

  • June 9, 2023: In the evening hours, Autumn Shaganash leaves her sister’s home in the Allandale neighbourhood, near Burton Avenue and Frank’s Way. She was wearing a black hoodie, shorts and Puma sandals. She was also carrying a black and tan purse.
  • June 10, 2023: Between 9:30 a.m and 9:45 a.m., Shaganash’s sister receives a text message asking to be picked up. Only three minutes had passed when her sister tried to respond to the message. But Shaganash’s phone went to voicemail and appeared to have been turned off, according to police. (In January 2024, the private investigator hired by the family noted that, in an effort to unearth potential clues, he had gained access to her “digital footprint” and discovered a message sent in the early-morning hours of June 10, which “alluded to her presence at an unspecified location.”)
  • June 10, 2023: Police say Shaganash was making her way to the city waterfront to watch the Barrie Airshow with a male friend who was walking ahead of her when she vanished. At the same time, an ALS fundraising event was taking place in Sunnidale Park. She was seen in the Kozlov Street area near Sunnidale Park, and in the Sunnidale Road and Letitia Street area between 10 a.m. and noon. Police have said they have video evidence of this.
  • June 12, 2023: A missing-person investigation is launched after local police are notified of Shaganash's disappearance. Sunnidale Park was subsequently searched numerous times using police drones and canine teams, but to no avail. Police had also searched downtown Toronto, without any positive results.
  • June 21, 2023: Police are asked if the case is being treated as an abduction or possibly linked to human trafficking. “There is no evidence that human trafficking is involved, but we obviously are going to look at every possible angle here,” says a police official. “There has been no confirmation that she is being held against her will.”
  • June 27, 2023: Barrie police make a public appeal to people who were in attendance at the ALS fundraiser for potential photographic/video evidence that could help in the investigation.
  • Aug. 2, 2023: Investigators release new photos in hopes of jogging people’s memories and generating new leads in the search for Shaganash.
  • Sept. 19, 2023: Shaganash’s 27th birthday.
  • Nov. 14, 2023: Shaganash’s sister pleads with the public for information. “We really miss her. It’s been too long,” she says.
  • Jan. 23, 2024: Shaganash’s family announces they have hired a private investigator, Derwin Johnson, of Toronto-based Present Truth Investigations.
  • Jan. 27, 2024: The private investigator tells BarrieToday the family has provided evidence to him that they had obtained independent of the police investigation. This includes video surveillance footage from a residential home showing Shaganash walking with the male friend, mentioned above, but the family has also acquired additional video that “they are kind of holding close to their chest,” Johnson says. “They’ve shared (it) with us and we are analyzing that video now.”
  • Feb. 8, 2024: Almost eight months after Shaganash was reported missing, Barrie police hold a news conference to announce a $50,000 reward for information that helps locate the missing woman. During the question-and-answer period with reporters, police say they have had “numerous” leads.
  • April 9, 2024: Barrie police announce they have partnered with an advertising company to post signs on Barrie Transit buses and billboards around the city in an effort to locate her.
  • May 30, 2024: The private investigator tells BarrieToday “a few witnesses have come forward, and leads have been forwarded to (Barrie police), but as you are aware, they will not share the results of their investigative efforts, or if the leads had substance.”
  • June 9, 2024: Shaganash’s sister tells BarrieToday about a lead being followed involving a black car a witness said was in the Sunnidale area asking a female for a ride. She said a similar black car can be seen in surveillance video.

Surveillance video of a man Shaganash was last seen walking with while on her way to the city waterfront to watch the Barrie Airshow on June 10, 2023 — two days before she was reported missing to police by her family:

Kevin Lamb

About the Author: Kevin Lamb

Kevin Lamb picked up a camera in 2000 and by 2005 was freelancing for the Barrie Examiner newspaper until its closure in 2017. He is an award-winning photojournalist, with his work having been seen in many news outlets across Canada and internationally
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