, 2022-05-26 07:00:00,
When Violet Soosay’s aunt went missing in 1979, she made a promise to her grandmother that she would find her daughter and bring her home.
Decades later, she is finally fulfilling that promise.
Shirley Soosay’s remains are being flown from California to Alberta this week, arriving at the Edmonton International Airport on Friday morning.
“Once that is complete, I know that the weight of the world will be off of my shoulders,” Violet Soosay told CBC News.
The homecoming marks the end of her family’s mystery but also illustrates the power of DNA testing and social media —tools that Soosay hopes help others searching for answers.
After years of searching for her aunt, the promise she had made to her grandmother started to weigh heavily on Soosay.
She was growing older and had doubts she would ever find out what had happened to her relative.
The last time she had seen her was at her father’s funeral, when she was 17. The family lost contact with her in 1979, which was unusual since Shirley had always sent her mother cards on holidays and birthdays.
At a women’s conference in 2020, Soosay spoke about her search and her hope for closure.
Just four days later, a Facebook post caught her attention.
The post was from the DNA Doe Project — an American non-profit that uses genetic genealogy to identify cold case victims — and it was trying to identify an Indigenous woman who had been murdered in Kern County, Calif. The woman had been stabbed to death and her body was found in an almond orchard on July 14, 1980.
Soosay submitted her DNA to a website listed in the post and the match was confirmed within a few weeks.
In 2018, Wilson Chouest was convicted of murdering Soosay and another woman, who remains unidentified. Chouest is currently serving two consecutive…
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