12 years after Abigail Andrews’ disappearance, her family continues to seek closure

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Over twelve years ago, 28-year-old expectant mother Abigail Andrews disappeared from Fort St. John, leaving behind bittersweet memories and difficult questions for her friends and family members.

Andrews was born in Fort Nelson. Her family moved to Duncan B.C.  and then to Tetsa River, about 75 miles north of Fort Nelson, when Abigail was in her early teens.

“Her mom and dad took over running a family lodge that’s there, The Cinnamon Bun Center,” Abigail’s aunt, Beth Cobbett, said.

Abigail and her sister then moved into Fort Nelson and worked there for a few years before Abigail decided to travel, spending a few years in England before moving to Montreal, where she met her friend Carrie Conelly.

“Abigail and I met — I think it was in 2006. We had both just moved to Montreal. We met at a call center there, and we just hit it off right away,” Conelly recalled.

“She was just this sweet, innocent, kind, heart on her sleeve type of person. She would have just given you anything; she was the sweetest, most giving, generous human being. We became best friends very quickly,” Conelly said.

After becoming unexpectedly pregnant and moving back to Ontario, Conelly says she kept in touch with Abigail, speaking to her daily.

After Conelly separated from her partner, Abigail suggested Conelly move back to Montreal to finish her degree. The two became roommates, with Abigail taking it upon herself to find a place to accommodate her friend and her son.

“She helped me raise my son for the first probably year and a half that I was with her in that apartment.”

Abigail moved to Fort St. John in June 2009 and worked as a cook in an oilfield camp in Fort St. John. Conelly says she was popular among her co-workers due to her superior culinary skills.

“Abigail was this brilliant cook. So the folks working in the oilfield were like, oh good, Abigail is cooking. She’s going to make us like three-cheese lasagna with sausage and tons of garlic bread,” Conelly said.

Conelly said when Abigail discovered she was pregnant, she was excited and decided to keep the child.

Abigail’s aunt, Beth Cobbett, said the child’s father wasn’t as keen as Abigail and didn’t want to be a part of their lives.

“She was hoping that, through time and talking that he would come on board as far as being a part of the child’s life,” Cobbett said

“They weren’t cohabitating or living together, or even going to look at having a relationship in the future, but she was hoping for a father for her child.”

Cobbett stated that shortly before Abigail disappeared, she acted apprehensively and felt like someone was watching her.

“She was a little fearful of situations that were going on. I went to her house maybe a week before her disappearance, and she was cautious about making sure who was at the door and then looking out on the street,” Cobbett said.

“She was just a little freaked out about some stuff, and she didn’t expound on it. I wish I had queried her more about what was going on.”

Cobbett says on the night Abigail disappeared, she told her mother that she was going to visit the father of her child, who lived close to where Abigail lived.

“The last confirmed communication with her was on April 5th, and she had left a message with me, and she called her mom and said that she was going over to see this man that evening and her mum cautioned her,” Cobbett said.

“I wish I had been available for her call the night she called because that was the last communication anybody had with her that we can confirm,” Cobbett continued.

Abigail was reported missing on April 7th, 2010. While an unnamed suspect was identified in late 2013, Fort St. John RCMP has confirmed that her case remains open.

Abigail’s friends and family continue to struggle with the lack of closure that comes with not knowing what occurred that night.

“I definitely haven’t had a good friend since she was not just my niece. It’s your own personal reaction that you don’t want to get close,” Cobbett said.

“It’s kind of a void, you think to yourself, ‘I wonder where she’d be. If we’d be flying to see each other somewhere, if our kids would be friends.’ There are so many what-ifs and so many vacant memories now of what could have been. It’s really hard,” Conelly said.

Friends and family believe they know who is behind Abigail’s disappearance and believe someone in town may know something they haven’t yet shared with the RCMP.

Cobbett says with the number of years that have passed, she wishes that the family had the power to absolve the individual or individuals involved if it would mean knowing what happened to Abigail or where she was.

“To have closure, just to know, and to be able to have a grave. If that were our power, that would be what we would grant. But obviously, that’s not within our power,” Cobbett said.

Abigail would have celebrated her 40th birthday in February. Her unborn child would have been 12.

Conelly has tried to keep her friend’s memory alive through a Facebook group called Remembering Abigail Andrews, where friends and family can share their closest memories of Abigail.

Those with any information about Abigail’s case can contact the Fort St. John RCMP at 250-787-8100

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