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Sonya Cywink: OPP hope $60K reward will help solve 1994 murder

Click to play video: '‘Whirlwind Woman’: How Sonya Cywink was celebrated after her murder'
‘Whirlwind Woman’: How Sonya Cywink was celebrated after her murder
For years after her sister Sonya was murdered, Meggie Cywink stayed stuck in the tragedy. She explains the ceremony at the place her sister's body was found that helped her figure out how to move forward. Read the full story of Sonya's unsolved case on Global News – Aug 26, 2019

Provincial police are hoping a cash reward will help solve a case surrounding the disappearance of a London woman in 1994.

This weekend marks 26 years since Sonya Cywink‘s remains were found at the Southwold Earthworks National Historic Site of Canada, near Iona, in Elgin County. The Earthworks is a piece of property southwest of London containing the archaeological remains of a village originally inhabited by the Attiwandaron, also known as the Neutral Iroquois.

Read more: One woman’s 25-year fight to find the person who killed her sister

Though she was originally from Whitefish River First Nation territory on Manitoulin Island, Cywink was living in London’s east end when she went missing.

Click to play video: '‘She was a leader’: How one woman remembers her murdered cousin'
‘She was a leader’: How one woman remembers her murdered cousin

Cywink was last seen alive near the intersection of Dundas Street and Lyle Street at around 2 a.m. on Aug. 26, 1994.

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Her remains were found four days later.

“Someone knows something,” OPP Det. Insp. Randy Gaynor said in a news release. “We certainly want to solve this homicide and bring the person(s) responsible to justice for Sonya and her family. Again someone out there knows something about this case and we are urging them to step forward and help bring this investigation to a successful conclusion.”

The search for a killer has remained active largely due to the efforts of Cywink’s sister Meggie Cywink.

Along with countless check-ins with OPP, those efforts also include organizing a solidarity walk in her sister’s honour last year as well as an eight-day information session held near the intersection where Sonya was last seen.

Meggie told Global News she hopes her efforts pave a way forward for other families going through similar unsolved cases.

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“We’re unique, but other families can do the same work that we’re doing,” Meggie said.

“I’m prepared… and determined to ensure that the investigation into my sister’s murder moves forward.”

 

Chris Gheysen is a retired OPP detective who was the original lead investigator for Sonya’s homicide.

Gheysen worked the case for more than a year and found the investigation was hindered by a lack of cooperation.

“Maybe it was partly based out of fear of retribution, but I strongly believe more than one person knows what happened and that person is no doubt heavily burdened by their silence,” Gheysen said.

Read more: 15 years after woman’s body found near Guelph, police no closer to solving ‘suspicious’ death

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Like Meggie, the retired cop hasn’t given up hope.

“I do strongly believe that Sonya’s murder will still be solved and that the family and the police are close to having the vital one piece of information that’s needed to break open this case,” Gheysen said.

Police are offering a reward of $60,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for her death. $10,000 of that reward comes from Meggie and her husband.

More information on the reward can be found here.

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‘The inquiry was never going to solve my sister’s case,’ says MMIW advocate

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