Who took Sherri McLaughlin?

RCMP to reveal new evidence today on mysterious 1993 disappearance

One of the city's most notorious cold cases may be a step closer to being solved as RCMP reveal new evidence in Sherri McLaughlin's disappearance almost 16 years to the day she vanished.

Staff Sgt. Gary Kerr, head of Kamloops RCMP's serious crime section, said Wednesday police know who is responsible for McLaughlin's disappearance on Sept. 19, 1993.

"I am going to get up tomorrow and say we know who is responsible," said Kerr.

"We know, I know, who kidnapped and killed her."

Kerr said officers will not make a public appeal for new information. Instead, he will show new forensic evidence that is integral to the investigation.

He said the evidence has never been made public before, not even to McLaughlin's family.

"Everything is going to be laid on the line tomorrow," said Kerr, adding police are "one inch shy of a mile" to bringing the case to a close.

"After this many years . . . we felt the family needs to know this information and the public needs to know this information, too."

McLaughlin's brother, James McLaughlin, said he and other family members will attend the press conference. He has not been told what the new evidence is, or how it relates to his sister's disappearance.

"I don't know how I feel," he said about the development in the investigation. "My sister has been missing for 16 years. How can you feel?"

The 18-year-old was last seen by friends headed on her bicycle to visit her boyfriend. Her abandoned bike was found, its wheel twisted beyond use, on the side of Parkcrest Drive.

Despite an intense police investigation, no answers to her whereabouts ever surfaced. A viable suspect has never been found.

James said he has been on an emotional roller-coaster every day since. Some days he feels good, other days he feels sad.

"When I am having a good time, when I'm happy, I feel bad because I am happy because my sister has gone through whatever," he said.

Kerr was one of scores of police officers who put in countless hours in September 1993, looking for evidence, tips or leads that would bring them to the missing girl.

He said McLaughlin's disappearance is "the one remaining horrific act" that has left people in Kamloops wondering.

"A lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into this investigation," he said.

In an interview with The Daily News in 2007, James said he thought police did what they could with the investigation, but he also felt frustrated by the lack of ongoing contact with investigators.

Even though the case had gone cold, he wished officers would be more open about what has - or has not - happened during the investigation and give the family the full picture, he said at the time.

Kamloops RCMP handed the file to the RCMP's unsolved homicide unit in Vancouver, with the hope the specialized section would have more time to devote to the case.

jhewlett@kamloopsnews.ca

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