Kamloops mom keeps daughter Jessie Foster's memory alive after 15 years | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Current Conditions

18.2°C

Kamloops News

Kamloops mom keeps daughter Jessie Foster's memory alive after 15 years

A forensic sketch of Jessie Foster as she may look now.
Image Credit: Diana Trepkov
March 30, 2021 - 6:30 AM

Glendene Grant last heard from her daughter Jessie, 15 years ago.    

The time that's lapsed is more than ample cause to mourn and disappear into grief, but she’s chosen instead to do all she can to light a way home for Jessie and, if that never happens, ensure she’s alive in the memories of those who did, or would have, loved her.

“In six years, Jessie’s been gone as long as she’s been alive,” Grant said, from her Kamloops area home.

“That, to me, is the tragedy. Whether she’s alive or not she was robbed of her youth. Jessie got ripped off... that’s what hurts me. My pain is from things like, she’s missing out on her little sister’s children.”

That's why she made sure that they all know their auntie.

“They know what she looks like and they love her to pieces and they wish she’d come home,” Grant said. “It’s only fair. She’s missed out on enough. Why shouldn’t we allow her that?”

Grant has also ensured that legions of others think of Jessie often, and are ready at a moment’s notice to rally, if and when the occasion to do so arises.

“Jessie’s case is everybody’s business, she’s everybody’s sister, friend and daughter and there’s nothing people can’t ask about,” Grant said.

“She’s all of ours. She’s not just my daughter, she’s everybody’s and everyone has right to know what happened.”

It was March 29, 2006 when Grant’s life changed and she realized her daughter, who had been living with her boyfriend Peter Todd in North Las Vegas, stopped answering calls.

It was out of character and Grant and her family knew something was wrong. By April 9, Grant was filing a missing person’s report with the North Las Vegas Police Department.

Todd was questioned and eventually cleared of police suspicion, though not Grant’s.
 
In the time that followed, Grant learned through a private investigator that her 21-year-old daughter, who had lived in Las Vegas for less than a year, had been hospitalized with a broken jaw, forced to work at an escort agency and arrested for prostitution.

Grant now knows Jessie was the victim of human trafficking and hopes one day they will meet again and she will be able to offer the help she needs to recover.

This year, as the pandemic raged on, didn't see that happening, though there were fleeting moments when it seemed as if answers to questions of what caused Jessie to not come home would come.

These, unfortunately, came to her via three scammers who tried to bilk money from her, in exchange for information about Jessie. Two of the interactions, she said, were laughable, but one prompted some action and after some consultation with investigators in the US, she spoke to the police department in Henderson Nevada, near where the tip was supposed to have been connected.

“It was a Sunday that I called and was surprised I got a callback,” she said.

“(The detective) was so interested, and appalled by how I was treated in North Las Vegas… we even set up a sting.”

The aim was to capture the so-called tipster who was expecting Grant to show up with $3,000. In the end, COVID confusion and distance intervened and she learned that it wasn’t a realistic tip, just a call routed through a VOIP phone based in Nigeria.

Regardless, it was a sign that help is available, should she go looking.

Until then, however, Jessie’s already changed the world for the better, which Grant explained is the one good thing that’s come from the tremendous loss the family has struggled with for 14 years.

"Jessie’s story has touched so many people," she said.

Since learning what happened to her daughter before her disappearance, Grant has become an advocate for missing women and helped people understand the workings of human trafficking a bit better.

She started an organization called Mothers Against Trafficking Humans and has spoken to students, front line workers, parents and lawmakers about human trafficking — something she said no one is immune from.

Education is the one avenue of protection. If Jessie had known more about what was ahead of her, her life might have turned out differently. In 2014, Grant also helped get Jessie’s Law passed, making it illegal to purchase or advertise sexual services and illegal to live on the material benefits from sex work in Canada. 

Perhaps, however, the biggest thing she’s done is to go on living. Grant wants Jessie to have something to come home to, so she knows they are OK and her focus can be on getting better.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © iNFOnews, 2021
iNFOnews

  • Popular vernon News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile