A three-day cadaver dog search across Greater Victoria turned up no new information regarding missing Victoria woman Emma Fillipoff.
“We didn’t uncover anything in the search, but what we were able to do is confirm that Emma is not in the areas we did search,” said Kimberly Bordage, lead volunteer in the Help Find Emma Fillopoff search group and right-hand person to Fillipoff’s mother, Shelley Fillipoff.
The search was prompted by a new tip that came forward this summer, which altered the last sighting of Emma Fillipoff to View Royal in the early hours of Saturday Nov. 29, 2012. Previous to this, the last reported sighting of her was in front of the Empress Hotel in downtown Victoria on the evening of Nov. 28.
“It’s bittersweet…We still don’t have answers, so in a way that’s sad,” Bordage said. “But, there’s a strange sense of relief that we didn’t find anything, and that Shelley can continue to hope that Emma’s out there.”
From Dec. 1 to Dec. 3, nationally-renowned cadaver dog handler Kim Cooper, Bordage, and a couple local volunteers combed the areas where Emma was last seen or known to frequent.
On the first day, the team searched Emma’s last known spot in View Royal, followed by a search of the Gorge Waterway and alongside the Galloping Goose trail.
Day two and three focused on less-travelled and dead end roads surrounding Thetis Lake and the wooded grounds of Royal Roads University.
“It was quite an intense experience and a little dangerous at times,” Bordage said. “I realized just how much forest there is.”
Bordage herself comes from Nova Scotia, while Cooper comes from Ontario, but both were aided with local information about the areas.
The searches began at 8:30 a.m. and went until dark, when the team would then spend more time asking locals for information, and getting first-hand accounts of information they’d only heard from someone else.
Since Filipoff’s disappearance there’s been an outpouring of supportive messages and information from across the country, something that Shelley Fillipoff previously told Black Press Media has been overwhelming and touching.
Bordage herself had never met Emma Fillipoff, but like many others was drawn to the story because of her own history.
“I do have my own personal experience to feel a lot of empathy for Shelley,” Bordage said. “My mom went missing, and I was six days too late. It’s an awful feeling to be alone searching for someone you love.”
A second and larger volunteer search will happen in the spring, without dogs, with locations yet to be determined.
Bordage asked that anyone interested in helping is encouraged to contact her or Fillipoff via their Facebook page, Help Find Emma Fillipoff (facebook.com/helpfindemmafillipoff).
Bordage is also producing a documentary film around Fillipoff’s case, with the release date yet to be determined.
For more information, you can visit helpfindemmafillipoff.com
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