Hundreds turned out for an awareness walk and candlelight vigil in Saskatchewan last Saturday (March 20), marking a full-year since Laurie Sakebow last heard from her son, Brandon.
The 23-year old Indigenous man was last seen leaving the Mission RCMP detachment on March 21, 2020, where he had spent the night after being picked up intoxicated on a Dewdney dairy farm, according to police.
“The reason why we wanted to do the awareness walk for Brandon is because it’s the one-year anniversary, and we wanted to let the RCMP know that Brandon is very loved and we’re not going to stop searching for him,” said Debra Sakebow, his aunt.
Over 200 people showed up for the 24-kilometer walk and vigil, the family said. It was led by Chief Peter Bill of the Pelican Lake First Nation, and Vice Chief Dutch Lerat of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN).
“Most of the people were from Pelican Lake, but we have a really, really big family. So they all wanted to come out and support,” Debra said, adding many family members travelled from all over the province.
Jason Stonechild, FSIN’s director of justice and the special investigations unit, gave a speech in support of the family at the vigil held in front of the Spiritwood RCMP detachment.
A month before his disappearance, Sakebow had been paroled from federal prison. He spent some time in an Abbotsford halfway house, before a fire displaced all the residents on March 14.
In his last communications with his family, he had expressed a desire to return home. They filed a missing persons report on March 25 after he didn’t to wish his mother a happy birthday.
Sakebow’s cell phone, bag and clothes were found in a stolen van in Mission by Abbotsford Police officers on March 24, RCMP said, with the van being stolen from Abbotsford on March 20.
FSIN investigators became involved at the family’s request after they claimed to receive inconsistent communication regarding Sakebow’s disappearance.
The family have made the long drive from the Pelican First Nation to B.C. many times to continue their search, and said they plan to continue their efforts after COVID-19 restrictions ease.