Family appeals for help finding N.S. woman who disappeared last Easter
Jonathan Forani, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Sunday, January 14, 2018 9:27AM EST
It's been nine months since Debbie Hutchinson's burned out car was found by ATV riders not far from her Cape Breton home.
Nearly a year later, after the community launched extensive search by land and air, her family is speaking out in hopes that renewed interest in her disappearance could bring them answers.
"It's been hard. We're just trying to get by," Debbie’s brother John Hutchinson told CTV Atlantic. "We're trying to be strong but sometimes it's not that easy."
Last seen on April 14, 59-year-old Hutchinson's car was found a couple days later by a pair of ATV riders in a wooded area.
"It was just billowing black smoke and we stopped there because we didn't know if the car was going to actually explode, but then again, we had to check if there was anyone in it," Nicholas Bonnell, one of the ATV riders told CTV Atlantic at the time.
She was reported missing that month by her family, who now say her disappearance remains a total mystery to them. "I want her name and her picture out there, because I know there has to be somebody who knows something," Debbie’s niece, Amy Hutchinson, told CTV Atlantic on Saturday.
Debbie Hutchinson is described as five feet tall, about 95 pounds, with brown eyes and greying hair.
Cape Breton regional police have said that while her disappearance is "suspicious," there is still no evidence to indicate foul play as they continue their investigation. There have been no new leads for months, which concerns the family, who remains troubled by details of her sudden disappearance on Easter weekend last year. They said there has been no new activity on the bank account, and the fact that she left her dog, who she "never went anywhere without," locked at home surprised them and others that knew her.
"Debbie has animals, a cat and a dog. I just don't understand her going and leaving them, because she loved them dearly, and every place she went the little dog was with her," Hutchinson's neighbour, Sheila Bartlett, told CTV Atlantic last year.
The burned-out car is also concerning, her brother John said. "That throws a real monkey wrench in the whole situation."
The worst part of it all for the family is simply the lack of answers. "It really is just not knowing what happened or where she is," her niece said. "The not knowing is the worst."
As the one-year mark ticks closer, her brother John said they just want to know what happened to Debbie.
"The hope of the family is closure one way or the other," he said.
We're still looking for Debbie Hutchinson, last seen April 14th: new photo here. Call us (902-563-5151) or Crime Stoppers with any info. pic.twitter.com/M0VJkv1d7N— CB Regional Police (@CBRegPolice) May 26, 2017
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald.