The woman at the heart of one of Canada’s most baffling missing persons cases has captured renewed attention nine years after she vanished without a trace.
Emma Fillipoff was 26 years old when she disappeared from the Empress Hotel in Vancouver on 28 November 2012.
Hours before she was reported missing, officers encountered Ms Fillipoff barefoot and disoriented while responding to a call about a woman “acting oddly” outside the hotel, according to Victoria Police.
The officers spoke to Ms Fillipoff for about 45 minutes and determined she did not pose a risk to herself or others before sending her on her way. She was never seen or heard from again, investigators say.
Victoria Police marked the ninth anniversary of Ms Fillipoff’s disappearance on Sunday by releasing new photos of her, in hopes that they could lead to a break in the case.
“There has been an extensive investigation into Emma’s disappearance ever since, but to date investigators have been unsuccessful in determining what may have happened to her,” the release states.
“We are asking for your help to solve this file.”
The images obtained during the investigation include photos Ms Fillipoff took of herself holding a camera, as well as ones she snapped of various objects.
Police said they’ve received hundreds of tips in the case over the years, but have not been able to confirm any reported sightings of her.
The most compelling reported sighting emerged in 2018, when a man came forward to claim that he had given Ms Fillipoff a ride on the morning after she was reported.
The man named William told police he dropped her off at an intersection on Vancouver Island - about 70 miles from the hotel – at around 5.15am on 29 November 2012. He said he waited so long to contact authorities because he feared being implicated in the case.
The tip prompted police to conduct a three-day search with cadaver dogs around View Royal, the Gorge Waterway, and the Galloping Goose trail – but nothing notable was found.
The Victoria Police statement on Sunday is almost identical to one issued last year on the eighth anniversary of Ms Fillipoff’s disappearance, which also included unearthed photos.
Ms Fillipoff’s mother, Shelley Fillipoff, spoke out about the case at that time, calling it “staggering” that her daughter still hasn’t been found after so many years.
"I remember thinking that a month was unbelievable and then thinking that six months wasn’t possible," she told CTV News in November 2020.
The mother described Ms Fillipoff’s lifestyle as transient, saying she bounced between jobs and living arrangements, sometimes taking shelter in the woods.
In the days before she disappeared, Ms Fillipoff told her mother she was staying at a women’s shelter and was considering coming home to Ontario, but decided against it.
On the day her daughter vanished, Shelley Fillipoff flew to Vancouver, against requests not to visit.
She filed a missing persons’ report after going to the shelter and discovering Ms Fillipoff wasn’t there.
Speaking to CTV last year, Shelley Fillipoff said she has no clue where her daughter is but believes she left Vancouver Island.
"I don’t think it’s reasonable to think she’s still on the island because surely someone would recognise her or come forward,” she said.
The mother said she hoped that the revived attention on her daughter’s case at the eight-year mark would finally yield some answers. A year later, that still hasn’t happened.
Authorities have urged anyone with information about the case to call the Victoria Police Department’s non-emergency line at 250-995-7654 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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