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Police to search Saskatoon landfill for woman missing since 2020

Saskatoon police are planning to search the city's landfill for a woman who has been missing for almost four years. A Saskatoon Police Service patch is sewn onto an officer's uniform in Saskatoon, Friday, May 5, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Heywood Yu

Saskatoon police are planning to search the city's landfill for a woman who has been missing for more than three years.

Mackenzie Lee Trottier was 22 when she last seen in December 2020.

“I must stress that Mackenzie is still considered a missing person and will be until we have direct information otherwise,” Deputy Chief Cam McBride said at a news conference Friday.

Police said a substantial amount of data was collected last year as part of their investigation. Devices were seized and information was extracted, leading investigators to a specific area of the landfill, said McBride.

The search area is about 930 cubic metres in size and one metre deep.

A multi-agency search, including specialized dogs from Calgary police and RCMP, is expected to begin next month and last 33 days.

McBride said police waited to have optimal conditions to search the area. The team will also be consulting with a forensic anthropologist.

“On one hand, we would like to find nothing, and we’ll continue looking,” McBride said.

“On the other hand, we may find her.”

Trottier’s father said the family has been tirelessly waiting for answers.

“We’ve been waiting 1,215 days to hear her voice again,” Paul Trottier said at the news conference.

The family has held numerous public campaigns, sharing photos of the young woman in Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton and other cities across the country. They set up a website and Facebook group looking for tips. 

In the years since Trottier disappeared, there have been other developments in the case. In 2022, police released video surveillance of a man investigators believed may have information about the case. But the following year, police said the man had still not been identified.

Trottier said his daughter, whom they call Mack, cares deeply for those without a voice. She loves animals, is very bright and has “always been prepared to take those under her wing who need help.”

“We miss her,” he said.

Landfill searches have been in the national spotlight in recent years, following a push to find the remains of two slain First Nations women in Winnipeg. 

Police in Manitoba’s capital have said they believe the remains of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran were taken to a privately owned landfill north of the city in 2022. 

Winnipeg police rejected the idea of a search, in part because of the potential danger from toxic substances and the large volume of material at the landfill. 

The women’s families took their fight for a search to Parliament Hill. Last month, the federal and Manitoba governments committed a total of $40 million to conduct a search.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2024.

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

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