CANADA Canada - Rhonda Running Bird, 25, Swan Lake Rec Area AB, 26 March 1995

Discussion in '1990's Missing' started by Rle7, Mar 26, 2006.

  1. Rle7

    Rle7 New Member

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    SEX: Female RACE :Native
    BORN: Nov. 22, 1969
    WEIGHT: 125lbs.Wears glasses
    HEALTH: poor. She was using a kidney colostomy bag due to a sever beating. She was scheduled for surgery March 31/95

    http://www.geocities.com/missingrhondarunningbird
     
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  3. bykerladi

    bykerladi New Member

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    The website isn't working properly - none of the links work. What are the circumstances surrounding her disappearance? Who was the person that beat her - was he or she in jail or free at the time of her disappearance?
     
  4. Rle7

    Rle7 New Member

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    Hi bykerladi. The links work for me. Here is what it says about her disappearance:

    [size=+4]DETAILS OF RHONDA'S DISAPPEARANCE[/size][size=+2]The area Rhonda disappeared in is very rugged country. The Swan Lake Recreational Area is located in the Central Alberta foothills of the Rocky Mountains. About 30 minutes west of Swan Lake is the first range of mountains. The area is a forest with numerous streams, slews and muskeg. There is a small campgrounds on Swan Lake. The nearest towns are Caroline and Rocky Mountain House.[/size][size=+2]H E R E I S T H E S T O R Y REPORTED BY THE HUSBAN AND AUNT:[/size][size=+1]RHONDA WAS ON A DAY LONG HUNTING TRIP WITH HER COMMON LAW HUSBAND, THEIR 18 MONTH OLD SON AND THE HUSBAND'S AUNT. THE HUSBAND AND AUNT SAY, THEIR TRUCK BECAME STUCK IN THE MUD ON A CUTLINE/TRAIL AND THEY BLEW THE MOTOR TRYING TO GET IT OUT.
    THE END OF MARCH IS THE BEGINNING OF SPRING. THE WEATHER CAN GO FROM SUNNY AND MELTING TO RAIN/SNOW OR A RAGGING BLIZZARD IN NO TIME. AT NIGHTS THE TEMPERATURE DROPS WELL BELOW FREEZING.
    THE HUSBAND WAS ANGRY AND TOOK OFF INTO THE BUSH WITH HIS HUNTING RIFLE, LEAVING THE REST OF THE PARTY AT THE TRUCK. THE HUSBAND GOT LOST AND WONDER AROUND TRYING TO FIND HIS WAY OUT. HE SAID HE FINALLY SPENT THE NIGHT IN THE BUSH.
    MEANWHILE THE AUNT SAYS HER, RHONDA AND BABY STAYED AT THE TRUCK. THEY TRIED TO START A FIRE, BUT COULDN'T. THE AUNT SAID AT FIRST HER, RHONDA AND THE BABY WHERE GOING TO WALK OUT. SHE SAID, THEY WHERE NOT SURE WHERE THEY WHERE, BUT SUSPECTED A COUNTRY STORE WAS NOT FAR AWAY( this store was about a 30 minute drive, much to far to walk to). THEY WROTE A NOTE LEAVING IT FOR THE HUSBAND, BUT THEN DECIDED THE AUNT, WHO WAS SICKLY SHOULD STAY WITH THE BABY AT THE TRUCK.
    THE AUNT SAID IT WAS ALREADY DARK WHEN RHONDA DECIDED TO LEAVE. THE AUNT CLAIMS,RHONDA DRESSED IN TWO SETS OF CLOTHING AND PUT HER RUNNING SHOES ON AND HER HUSBANDS RUNNING SHOES ON. (this is quite a trick. putting ladies size 8 shoes into men's size 10???????)SHE SAYS SHE TURNED ON THE HEADLIGHTS AND RHONDA WALKED OF INTO THE BUSH. (This direction is West/Northwest the store was northeast. Rhonda was experienced in the outdoors and would never have left in the dark. It is strange she would try to walk considering her poor medical state. When her mother had seen her several days before she could barley walk due to her damaged kidney.)
    THE HUSBAND SAYS HE FOUND HIS WAY BACK TO THE TRUCK THE NEXT MORNING AS HIS AUNT KEPT HONKING THE HORN. THEY SAY THEY SPENT ANOTHER NIGHT HERE; NOT BEING ABLE TO FIND THEIR WAY OUT. (This is also strange as they where only about a mile off the Swan Lake gravel road. After the first half mile you can see and hear the road.This road is used year long) IT HAS NOW BEEN 24 HOURS SINCE RHONDA LEFT.
    THEY SAY THE NEXT DAY THEY FINALLY FOUND THEIR WAY OUT TO THE SWAN LAKE ROAD. HERE THEY SAY THEY SPENT ANOTHER NIGHT. IT HAS NOW BEEN 48 HRS OR 2 DAYS SINCE RHONDA WALKED FOR HELP.
    THE NEXT DAY THE AUNT SAID THEY FLAGGED DOWN A PASSING UTILITIES TRUCK AND USED THE DRIVER'S CELL PHONE TO CALL A RELATIVE TO COME AND GET THEM.
    WHEN THEY ARRIVED BACK IN TOWN THE HUSBAND ASKED ANOTHER RELATIVE TO REPORT RHONDA MISSING TO THE POLICE. HE SAID HE AND ANOTHER RELATIVE WENT BACK OUT TO TRY AND GET THE TRUCK.
    THE AUNT TELLS THE POLICE SHE DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO GET TO WHERE THE TRUCK WAS STUCK. THE POLICE CAN NOT FIND THE HUSBAND TO TAKE THEM OUT TO THE SITE. IT HAS NOW BEEN 72HRS OR 3 DAYS SINCE RHONDA DISAPPEARED.
    THE POLICE FINALLY LOCATE THE HUSBAND THE NEXT MORNING AND HE LEADS THEM TO THE AREA WHERE THE TRUCK IS.
    A MASSIVE SEARCH AND RESCUE MISSION TAKES PLACE WITH POLICE, DOGS AND PROFESSIONAL SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAMS. THEY SEARCH THE AREA FOR SEVERAL DAYS. ALL THEY FIND A UNUSED COLOSTOMY BAG, AND SET OF CLOTHING THAT WHERE RHONDA'S NEAR THE TRUCK. NEAR BY A PAIR OF GLASSES THAT RHONDA'S BROTHER SAYS ARE HER'S, BUT POLICE SAY NO. (who do the glasses belong to????).
    FOR SEVERAL DAYS THE SEARCH GOES ON WITH NO SIGN OF RHONDA. FINALLY THE MEDICAL EXAMINER DECIDES THAT RHONDA COULD NOT HAVE SURVIVED IN THESE WEATHER CONDITIONS AND IS PRESUMED DEAD. THE SEARCH IS CALLED OFF. NOT ONE SIGN OR CLUE OF HER IS FOUND! RHONDA JOINS THE FILE OF MISSING PERSONS.

    HER MOTHER, STEPFATHER AND OTHER MEMBERS OF HER FAMILY BEGIN THEIR OWN SEARCH, BUT THE WEATHER HAMPERS THEM. THIS IS WHEN I MET THE FAMILY AND BECAME THE SEARCH COORDINATOR.
    FOR FIVE YEARS WE HAVE ORGANIZED SEARCHES BUT HAVE NEVER FOUND HER REMAINS, AND IF SHE IS ALIVE THERE HAVE NEVER BEEN ANY CLUES AS TO HER WHEREABOUTS.
    [/size]
     
  5. bykerladi

    bykerladi New Member

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    The husband and aunt's story is awfully suspicious. I wonder how close the police investigated them.

    Here's an excerpt from this web site: http://www.geocities.com/waabzy/native.html

    There are a lot of discrepencies in this story. The aunt claims Rhonda was dressed in two sets of clothing and put her running shoes over her husbands. Rhonda wore a size 8 and her husband, a size 10. It would be impossible for her to do this.
    She claims Rhonda walked off after dark, into the bush trying to reach a store they had seen on the way in. Rhonda, however walked off to the north-northwest and the store was northeast of where the truck got stuck. Rhonda was experienced in the outdoors and would not have made this mistake. It is also strange that Rhonda would attempt to walk the 30 miles considering her poor health. Rhonda's mother reports that when she had seen her daughter just a few days before she went missing, Rhonda was barely able to walk because of her medical condition. Rhonda was scheduled for surgery the day after she disappeared.

    ...

    After searching for several days, The Medical Examiner decided that Rhonda could not have survived in those weather conditions and presumed she was dead. The search was called off.
    Rhonda's family then began their own search, which lasted five years. They were never able to find Rhonda's remains.

    Rhonda's husband has never participated in searches for his wife. Anyone with any information is asked to contact:<"mail to: missingrhondarunningbird@yahoo.ca">
     
  6. Mr. E

    Mr. E New Member

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    1. Was the aunt a relative of her husband's or of her's?

    2. What was the relationship like between her and her husband? Had she talked to friends of problems?

    3. Why did she agree to such a trip in her condition? Was she coerced somehow? Seems like she would opt out of a day-long hiking trip after being beaten so severely that she needed a colostomy bag and surgery.

    4. Who beat her? Was it the husband? If not, where was this person at the time of Rhonda's disappearance?
     
  7. Rle7

    Rle7 New Member

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    This sounds like a case where the husband is the prime suspect but there's not enough evidence to convict him. The police in Aurora, CO, would love to arrest Aarone Thompson's father and his girlfriend, but without a body there is not enough evidence for a grand jury to indict.

    The husband's story is total BS and his actions point to a cover-up of his wife's murder.
     
  8. Rle7

    Rle7 New Member

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    bump

    missing for 12 years now
     
  9. Synthia1021

    Synthia1021 New Member

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    I know this is probably way off, but the colostomy bag rang a bell I knew I read something about that before.. so anyone have an opinion.. I know sometimes age, weight and height can be off..

    http://www.doenetwork.org/

    Case File 533UFIL
     
  10. Alta

    Alta Proudly Canadian

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    This is a such a sad story.I first read about this many years ago.I have driven past this area that she went missing several times on my way up north to my parents home.It is a very bushy area.It is very likely she has never been found as there are many wild animals in these areas.Lots of bears,cougars etc..They would even be lucky to find bones.

    I believe the husband and his aunt were definately involved.I cannot believe if he was really concerned he would not join any of the searches,such a sad story.
     
  11. docwho3

    docwho3 New Member

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    Read the entire webpage at
    http://www.seenmelately.ca/RRunningbird.html
     
  12. docwho3

    docwho3 New Member

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  13. KarlK

    KarlK New Member

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    This doesn't make sense, perhaps that website should contact LE and get their story straight.
     
  14. docwho3

    docwho3 New Member

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    It doesn't make much sense except in a couple of possible instances. 1. The bag found originally might have been said to not be hers because it was not the one she had been using- it was an unused bag, which would mean her used bag had went with the victim. or 2. The glasses and bag were planted there as part of misdirection to keep L.E. searching in the wrong places. If the story told by her husband and his aunt was really told as the webpage says then it would seem to be a made up thing and if they had dropped an unused colostomy bag and a pair of glasses out there it might keep L.E. looking in one place and not thinking of where else to be looking.

    Or maybe she really did take an opportunity to run away and live elsewhere.

    Or, as you already pointed out it might be that someone got some facts wrong. Any of those things are possible.
     
  15. kygal

    kygal Former Member

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    According to maps. She would have had to travel from Northern Alberta to Southern Illimois to match the UID listed from Doe with a colostomy bag. It's possible, but seems like there's enough wilderness up there that, if she were killed, the killer would not have to travel that far to dispose of evidence? The two also look rather dissimilar to me, Rhonda's face is much rounder (bone structure wise) and there is no way to connect the two by height or weight from the files.

    It does seem very suspicious that they would stay out in the woods stranded for three days with an 18 month old. Unless they were prepared, that baby would have been VERY cranky, and scared looking for his mom. And the husband seems to be more concerned about his truck than his wife from what I read. All very fishy...
     
  16. Alta

    Alta Proudly Canadian

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    It wouldn't take much at that time of year to dispose of a body.If she was killed the animals in the area would be attracted to the scent of her blood.I can tell you from experience living in northern Alberta the animals are mighty hungry come March.The bears are just out of hibernation,there are cougars,coyotes etc...

    After reading the families website I believe the husband killed her and left her body for the animals.Why would she go on a hunting trip when she was due for a surgery in just a few days.Its seems a little convenient that they found a set of clothes,but didn't the aunt state she put on an extra set of clothing and another pair of shoes over her other ones before she set out?And the colostomy bag,sure she may have carried an extra one but where is the used one she would have had on.

    I feel sorry for her children,I don't believe for a minute she would have left them behind to stay with an abusive husband.
     
  17. docwho3

    docwho3 New Member

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  18. Alta

    Alta Proudly Canadian

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    One of my old bosses works for Cn Rail,I am going to email him and ask him.I think the chances are slight that this jane doe is Rhonda,everything seems to be off as per the description.But its worth a shot.I will let you know what I find out about the rail lines doc.
     
  19. Alta

    Alta Proudly Canadian

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    Something else that makes me even more suspicous of the husband is,he never once joined in the searches for his wife.

    Rhonda's mother on the family website also says that her daughter could not have even considered walking for help.In the days previous she could barely walk in her own home due to her kidney injuries.

    Doc did you see the pictures of the area they searched for Rhonda?
     
  20. KarlK

    KarlK New Member

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    Interesting. I googled this and it so happens that the largest railway in Illinois is Canadian National (CN took over Illinois Central some years ago), which also happens to be the largest railway in Canada as well. As the rough CN network map linked below shows there is indeed a direct rail line between northern Alberta and southern Illinois, and further south all the way to CN's terminal in New Orleans. Many feeder lines also connect to the main line.

    So it's obviously possible for someone hopping a train in Alberta to end up anywhere in the midwest but it would be a cold ride in early Spring especially for someone who's not in good health.

    http://www.brchamber.org/images/canadiannational_RR_network.jpg
     
  21. docwho3

    docwho3 New Member

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    Yes it might be cold (I don't know about those things) and might result in the death of the rider whose body might then be dumped . . . . .or then again it might not be cold enough to matter if the person was already dead and the train used as a means to transport a body far away to be dumped.

    Or they might not be the same person.

    At least it makes for an interesting set of facts with the rail lines and the colostomy bag coming into play.
     

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