Women in Kamloops watching their backs since Shannon White's disappearance | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Women in Kamloops watching their backs since Shannon White's disappearance

Missing woman Shannon White with her dog, Buddy.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Facebook

Kamloops woman Shannon White has been missing without explanation for over a month.

No new clues about her case have been released for over two weeks, and the disappearance is causing some female residents to feel more fearful about their safety.

Jersie Matzner, 19, said she and some of her co-workers in north Kamloops have been worried about walking home alone after their shifts.

She said the majority of her shifts end after dark and though her home is not a long distance away, she’s afraid.

“I think we are feeling more scared than before because women are going missing from Kamloops,” Matzner said.

Matzner said she and some coworkers have been discussing safety more than usual.

“Shannon could have been kidnapped,” Matzner said. “We don’t know what's going on. I don’t want to be jumped or thrown into the back of a car on my way home.”

READ MORE: Kamloops man assaulted for removing anti-homeless sign

Alix Dolson is the program coordinator at the Kamloops Sexual Assault Centre.

“We have seen an increase in anxiety among some women and vulnerable people in the community since the disappearance of Shannon White,” Dolson said. “Sometimes anxiety levels increase when a high profile case is in the media but it doesn’t mean there is an increase in risk to the community.”

Dolson said there is always violence happening in the community and all women and marginalized people should be vigilant for their safety at all times.

“When you are walking alone in the streets it is important to be aware of what is going on around you,” she said. “Stranger attacks are not the most common cases, typically it is someone who is known to you, someone you put your trust into.”

Dolson said it is important to have safety plans in place when going out into the community either alone or on dates, and to have someone to contact if something troubling occurs.

Matzner said she feels she is being followed at times and has considered carrying pepper spray or a whistle.

In Canada, pepper spray carried for the intention of personal protection is considered a prohibited weapon by the criminal code. Dolson said she does not encourage anyone to carry an illegal weapon.

“One of the best things people can do is to demand they have a safe way to get home,” she said. “Have a co-worker to walk out to the parking lot with, and always look out for each other. Trust your instincts, if it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t.”

Shannon White, 32, has been missing since Nov. 1, when White left her home in Kamloops's Lower Sahali neighbourhood at approximately 8 a.m. She didn't arrive at her job at Kamloops Hyundai on Notre Dame Drive as expected. The next day her Jeep was found parked on Nicola Street near 3 Avenue.

READ MORE: Community pulls together in search for missing Kamloops woman

Her vehicle was observed travelling west on the Trans-Canada Highway, shortly after she was supposed to have arrived at work.

On the same day White was reported missing, her Jeep travelled northbound on the Yellowhead Highway, past Rayleigh, before returning south, passing Rayleigh about 45 minutes later, according to an RCMP media release issued on Nov.15.

Kamloops RCMP have not released news to the media since, and the Serious Crimes Unit, which is investigating the case, has not released any new information.

“The search for Shannon White continues and there is nothing further to add since our Nov. 15 media release,” said RCMP spokesperson Const. Crystal Evelyn in an email to iNFOnews. “If something new becomes available that may help further the investigation by turning to the public for assistance, then we will issue another media release.

“In the meantime, the investigation is ongoing and we continue to appeal to the public to contact police with any information related to her disappearance, and to be on the lookout for her or anything that could help police locate her," Const.Evelyn said.

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