Reporters at The Daily News were asked to choose what they think qualifies as the Kamloops 2012 Story of the Year. We'd like to hear from readers which story they think deserves the honour by voting online starting Thursday in the sidebar to the left.
The stories under consideration are:
* Missing or murdered women
* Use of Twitter in reporting
* Royal Inland Hospital expansion
* Kamloops bicentennial
When teenager CJ Fowler was discovered dead in Guerin Creek on Dec. 5 in Kamloops, it brought a chilling reminder of other women who have gone missing or been murdered.
Northern B.C.'s Highway of Tears, Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and now Kamloops have brought inconsolable tragedy to the families left behind.
The story of the year in Kamloops is, unfortunately, two sides of the same coin.
Months ago, RCMP held a press conferences in Vancouver, Prince George and Kamloops to talk about victims from our past. In 1973, teenagers Gale Ann Weys, from Clearwater, and Pamela Darlington of Kamloops went missing and were later found murdered.
When Weys and Darlington were killed in unrelated episodes, it destroyed two futures, and tore apart the lives of friends and families who invested so much in them.
Nearly four decades later, 16-year-old CJ turned up dead in our midst. Police, friends and teachers described her as a sweet kid who struggled at times in school. Like many teenagers, she started hanging out with people that teachers and others knew were trouble.
They described her as vulnerable.
At the September press conference on the historic murders, RCMP investigators said they have conclusively pinned the murder of another teenage girl, 19-year-old Colleen MacMillen, on deceased Oregon inmate Bobby Jack Fowler through DNA evidence.
Police told reporters they strongly suspect Bobby Jack Fowler was responsible for the deaths of Weys and Darlington, but the investigation is not complete. RCMP held press conferences in order to gather more information from tips that could help them close the file and help families close the awful past.
RCMP are also seeking tips on CJ's whereabouts from the time she was seen on video surveillance at Royal Inland Hospital in the early morning hours of Dec. 5. A spokesman said up to 15 investigators are working on her file.
CJ's death is a dark episode, an unfortunate example that a young and vulnerable girl from Northern B.C. was not safe in our community.
We can only hope in the new year that police will conclude the investigation and charges will be laid in CJ's death.
"Violence against aboriginal women is absolutely acute and something needs to be done about it," Justice Wally Oppal told The Daily News in wake of his report on missing or murdered women on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
"It happens anywhere — there are no geographical boundaries."