The RCMP and Winnipeg Police Service established Project Devote to address unsolved historical homicides and missing person cases. While Project Devote's primary focus is to solve these investigations, the team also includes a family liaison contact, whose role is to maintain an open dialogue with family members to keep them apprised of their loved one's investigation. Learn more about how this project is helping to provide answers in unsolved homicide and missing person cases.
Dear Amanda, I wish you would come home. I wish you would come back and fix what your disappearance has broken. Mom's heartache is unbearable to witness and there are no words to console her grieving heart.
In 1996, Janet's sister Amanda went missing. She was 17 years-old.
She was just a kid. She’s not just a street person, she’s more than that, she’s my sister. She had friends, a lot of people loved her.
In 2011, following a string of unsolved homicides and missing persons investigations, the RCMP and the Winnipeg Police Service launched Project Devote. A two-pronged approach to address unsolved historical homicides and missing persons cases, involving exploited and at risk persons.
Project Devote is an integrated team of investigators from both the Winnipeg Police Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police specifically designated to investigate our murdered and missing exploited persons.
The investigators on our unit are hand selected very carefully by myself and the team commander in the Winnipeg police service based on investigative ability. We want the best and brightest investigators from across the province to address these investigations.
While Project Devote's primary focus is to solve these investigations, the team also includes a family liaison contact, whose role is to maintain an open dialogue with family members to keep them apprised of their loved one's investigation.
My role as the family liaison contact is to be a link between investigators and families. I provide families with investigational updates, I answer any kinds of questions or concerns families might have, and I try to provide families with as much information as possible without compromising the investigation.
It’s more personal than it is just having a phone call from a different investigator every week. I’m never left out of the loop I know what’s going on. And Shannon’s personality too, she’s so kind and warm. It’s been wonderful working with Shannon.
Families always have lots of questions and concerns and they’re wondering what’s going on within their investigation, the not knowing can be extremely excruciating for families. So just by contacting families on a regular basis it helps to ease some of their anxiety, and they really feel some sense of comfort in knowing that they can trust the people that are actually doing the work on their loved one’s investigations.
Janet's granddaughter Fonassa was 17 when she was murdered in 2007
Since I’ve been in Project Devote I findd it helpful, Shannon always gets in contact with me. If I have any questions I ask her. She helped me a lot when I was wiping away all the tears and I used to see her here all the time.
What keeps me motivated within Project Devote everyday is that I come in and I’m dedicated, I‘m passionate of finding that new piece of information that might bring us a little bit closer to solving one of our files. We are truly doing everything and we are dedicated to finding out answers.
Today, many family members say that thanks to Project Devote, they feel a renewed sense of confidence in their loved one's investigation.
I Felt progress, I did, I really did. I felt like Project Devote was awesome.
Strong ties to family members also have an important impact on Project Devote team members.
Project Devote isn’t a job where it just ends at four o’clock. You become very emotionally attached to it. When you are reading these files and visiting the families you become part of that family and you just can’t shut off at the end of the day. You take these investigations with you home at the end of the day and you’re constantly thinking about it and making phone calls and trying and do your best to serve the family.
Everyday Project Devote members work very hard to solve all their investigations in hopes that we can provide some peace, comfort and justice.
Victims and Survivors of Crime Week