August 10, 2014 2:30 pm

‘We still want to find her': Family pleads for information 25 years after Kimberly McAndrew disappears

HALIFAX – Tuesday marks a difficult anniversary for Megan Adams; August 12 will be the 25th anniversary of the disappearance of her sister, Kimberly McAndrew.

“It’s just not something that makes any more sense now than it did when it happened 25 years ago,” Adams told Global News.

The case is one that has haunted Adams’ family and the Halifax area. Kimberly, whose family called her Kim, from Parrsboro left her job at the Canadian Tire on Quinpool Road on August 12, 1989. There are reports she took a bus to Penhorn Mall. Then she was never seen again. Kim was 19 years old.

Kimberly Ann McAndrew, 19, disappeared in Halifax in 1989.

Handout/Department of Justice

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The case remains an active missing persons file with Halifax Regional Police.

Adams said she remembers the day Kim, who is older than her by three years, went missing.

“I would have been in Parrsboro at the time. My sister Erin, who lived with Kim, called home and I was in bed. She asked for dad on the phone. I knew something was wrong immediately. That’s when she told my parents Kim hadn’t come home from work,” she said.

Adams said that behaviour was out of character for Kim, adding the sisters had made plans to see the buskers festival, meet friends and celebrate a birthday.

“They knew early on something bad had happened,” she said.

“Kim was not a girl that went off on her own at all. She didn’t even like walking downtown in Parrsboro by herself. There was no way she was just off doing something independently. Her bank accounts were never touched. It was just the matter of what happened.”

A search quickly began for Kim but it soon became a dead end, and it has been for the past 25 years.

The family has been alerted over the years whenever human remains have been found in the Halifax area, which Adams said can sometimes cause a wave of emotions.

There was a search for remains in the fall of 1995 in Fleming Park, and police also looked at wells at Point Pleasant Park in 1996.

Serial killer Michael Wayne McGray was also loose in the area around the time Kim disappeared, though he maintained he could not remember whether she was one of his victims or not.

Last March, a property in Shad Bay belonging to the brother of Andrew Paul Johnson was searched. Johnson is serving time in B.C. for sex-related crimes, and he has long been suspected in Kim’s disappearance.

“It’s difficult [but] we’re still waiting for answers. [Kim] has a mother that still aches for her every day,” Adams said, as she tried to compose herself.

She does not want people to forget about Kim, a woman she describes as vivacious.

“She was quiet if out in public but around family and friends, she was very funny, goofy and liked to make others laugh and certainly laugh a lot,” she said with a smile.

“She loved Bryan Adams and had a close group of friends that she kept throughout the years. She was just a great girl, one of the most unlikely people that you would expect this to happen to because she just was not a risk taker.”

Adams said her family has thought extensively over the years about what could have happened to Kim.

“We know that whatever happened, it wasn’t something good. She would not go anywhere with anyone that she did not know very well. We think Kim was taken against her will and other than that, that’s really where it [ends],” she said.

The mystery surrounding Kim’s case was especially trying for Kim’s dad, a former RCMP officer, who passed away 10 years ago.

“It absolutely haunted him that he was not able to find her, to save her, to protect her from whatever that was.”

“That was something that never, ever left him.”

Adams said while she and her four siblings have moved on with their lives – getting married and having children – Kim is still frozen in time.

“There’s still the 19-year-old we miss terribly and want to know what would she be like today. Would she have children? Would she get married?”

“She’s still my sister no matter what. Do I expect to open my door and have her walking through it? Probably not. But she’s still very much a part of our family and is still very much a part of all that we do. We’re a big family and every one of us carry her with us.”

Adams said the family understands the likelihood Kim is still alive is quite low but they are still grasping for closure.

“If Kim is not living anymore then we still want to find her.”

“We want to have her with us. We want to be able to bury her properly,” she said.

So on the 25th anniversary of the disappearance, the family wants anyone with information about Kim or what may have happened to her to come forward.

“[We're] pleading with anyone that may have information. If they haven’t come forward before or if they have come forward and felt police didn’t look into it as perhaps they thought they might, to call police or call again and help us find out what happened,” Adams said.

“We deserve to know and she deserves to be found.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, submit a secure web tip at www.crimestoppers.ns.ca or text a tip: Tip 202 then your message to 274637.

The case is also a part of the province’s Justice Rewards for Major Unsolved Crimes program, which provides a $150,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Kim’s disappearance.

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