Jaqueline McDermott, 22, of Kitchener, has been reported missing in British Columbia, and her family is appealing for help across the country.
“We want to make sure that we amplify this message beyond British Columbia because I’m afraid she’s not here anymore,” said Nathalie St-Maurice, Jaqueline’s mother.
McDermott was last seen by her vehicle after attending a meditation retreat.
RCMP said her vehicle was found, but she was neither inside nor nearby.
“A little later his vehicle appears to be broken down along Highway 97C between Merritt and Logan Lake,” said Cpl. Madonna Saunderson with media relations for the RCMP.
St-Maurice said her daughter left in the spring of 2022 with a dream of exploring Canada while living in her van, which she fitted out to look like a tiny house.
“She has a little bed in there and she has a little kitchenette in there. The only thing she doesn’t have in there is a toilet,” St-Maurice said.
Her mother said she plans to meet friends in the coming days and weeks, but no one has heard from her.
She said it was not like her to cancel her friends without notice.
In a news release, RCMP described McDermott as Caucasian, who is 5-foot-7 and 111 pounds. She has curly blonde hair, a fair complexion with an average build, and a pierced nose.
Missing poster for Jaqui McDermott (Submitted/Nathalie St-Maurice)
St-Maurice said she hasn’t been able to sleep much since she disappeared. His family struggles to understand.
“Every time you close your eyes you go down a rabbit hole that you don’t want to go down,” she said. “Basically disappeared without a trace. It’s incredible. It’s crazy.”
His mother said McDermott was a free spirit and an artist.
“She’s a nature lover, she’s a vegan, she’s an animal lover, she’s an animal rights activist,” St-Maurice said. “She is loved by so many people. The outpouring of support has been overwhelming.
The RCMP said the search would continue.
“The investigation will remain open and active until we find Jaqueline or find out what happened,” Saunderson said.