Aboriginal Women’s Complaints Against Quebec Police Turned Over To Crown

Bianca Moushoun was among the first Aboriginal women in Val d'Or, Que. to come forward, filing a formal complaint against Quebec police officers who she said gave her beer and traded sex acts for money and cocaine. (Radio-Canada)

Bianca Moushoun was among the first Aboriginal women in Val d’Or, Que. to come forward, filing a formal complaint against Quebec police officers who she said gave her beer and traded sex acts for money and cocaine. (Radio-Canada)

Montreal police assigned to investigate allegations of police abuse in Val-d’Or

CBC News Posted: Jun 03, 2016

Quebec Crown prosecutors are now deciding whether to lay criminal charges as a result of a series of investigations into allegations of abuse of Aboriginal women by provincial police officers and, in some cases, members of other forces.

Montreal police were assigned to investigate the complaints of Aboriginal women across the province last year, after Radio-Canada’s Enquête reported allegations that Sûreté du Québec officers have physically and sexually abused Aboriginal women in the Val-d’Or region for decades.

The province’s Director of Penal and Criminal Prosecutions (DPCP) released a statement on Friday, saying Montreal police have handed over the results of multiple investigations.

A committee of experienced prosecutors will now analyze those cases, said DPCP spokesman René Verret.

“Now they will have to take the time necessary to decide if there will be accusations in this case,” Verret said. “They’ll have to analyze the evidence that was presented by the (Montreal) police.”

In some cases, Verret said, prosecutors may ask Montreal police to carry out additional interviews with complainants and witnesses.

The Crown said it will make public its decision as to whether to pursue charges in each individual case and explain why.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-police-aboriginal-women-abuse-crown-prosecutor-1.3614632

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Curve Lake Man Inviting All To Toronto Rally For Murdered And Missing Aboriginal Women

John Fox: Cheyenne Santa Marie Fox, 20, died in April 2013 when she fell from a Toronto condominium balcony. Police ruled her death a suicide. Her father John Fox claims his daughter was murdered. Todd Vandonk

John Fox: Cheyenne Santa Marie Fox, 20, died in April 2013 when she fell from a Toronto condominium balcony. Police ruled her death a suicide. Her father John Fox claims his daughter was murdered. Todd Vandonk

Peterborough This Week, By Lance Anderson

John Fox says too many women “are getting killed out there” including his daughter Cheyenne

PETERBOROUGH — John Fox is trying to rally together as many supporters from the Peterborough area he can for a day of action event in Toronto in May.

Mr. Fox, of Curve Lake, the father of the late Cheyenne Fox who died in Toronto in 2013, wants people to gather to shed light on missing and murdered aboriginal women.

“There are too many women getting killed out there and the government is not doing anything,” says Mr. Fox.

He believes his daughter Cheyenne, 20, was such a victim. Although Toronto police deemed her fall from a Toronto condominium building as suicide, he believes there is much more to the story.

He has filed a $14-million lawsuit against the Toronto Police Service and has been dogged in his resolve to get justice for his daughter. He believes Cheyenne was murdered. He also believes his daughter’s death might be connected to an alleged rape that occurred nine months prior.

READ MORE: Peterborough man suing Toronto Police for $14 million

Mr. Fox has also filed a $1-million lawsuit against Andhuyaun Inc. and a man he believes committed the sexual assault which led to post-traumatic psychological and physical harm. Mr. Fox also alleges Andhuyaun Inc. was reckless in the management of a Toronto women’s shelter where Ms Fox lived.

All allegations have not been proven in court.

READ MORE: Peterborough man suing women’s shelter for allegedly allowing rape

“I’m not concerned about the money, but there was an injustice here in the way our family was treated,” says Mr. Fox.

To take it a step further, Mr. Fox even asked the Office of the Chief Coroner to conduct an inquest into Cheyenne’s death. However, last summer, that request was denied based on evidence obtained during the police investigation.

Mr. Fox is now considering appealing the Office of the Chief Coroner’s decision.

“I’m ready for that now. I think the public needs to know,” says Mr. Fox.

In the meantime, Mr. Fox wants to be a champion for the many missing and murdered aboriginal women and children.

He is encouraging people to join him at Allan Gardens in Toronto on May 23 starting with a sunrise ceremony at 7 a.m. At 10 a.m. a sharing circle will be held for people to talk about their loved ones followed by a series of speakers discussing their individual stories at noon.

Mr. Fox says they have chosen Allan Gardens as the place to meet because of the many women who have died there.

If interested in joining Mr. Fox and other supporters on May 23, contact him at johnwikyfox@gmail.com or visit the Day Of Action-MMIWG, Child and Men Facebook page.

— with files from Todd Vandonk

http://www.mykawartha.com/news-story/6441126-curve-lake-man-inviting-all-to-toronto-rally-for-murdered-and-missing-aboriginal-women/;send=false 

Remains Of Karina Wolfe Found, Man Arrested And Second-Degree Murder Charge Laid

Karina Wolfe is seen in this file photo.

Karina Wolfe is seen in this file photo.

By Red Power Media, Staff

Arrest made in disappearance and murder of Aboriginal woman last seen more than 5 years. 

Saskatoon police on Friday identified human remains found earlier this month as belonging to Karina Beth Ann Wolfe, who was 20 years-old, when she vanished.

A 33-year-old man has been charged with second-degree murder and is to appear in Saskatoon provincial court on Monday.

Wolfe was last seen by a member of her family in July of 2010.

Police say they received information that led them to a rural area northwest of Saskatoon, where the remains were found on Nov. 14. DNA tests confirmed Wolfe’s identity and her family was contacted this week.

RELATED:

Authorities say a number of organizations worked to confirm the finding, including the chief coroner, a forensic anthropologist and the RCMP cold case major crime unit.

Wolfe’s relatives, who have held yearly vigils to remember her and to raise awareness of missing and murdered aboriginal women, are requesting privacy.

Saskatoon Police will hold a news conference on Monday to update the case.

Wolfe’s family is also expected to speak to the media Monday.

Missing, Murdered Aboriginal Women Remembered With 1,181 Inukshuks

Kristen Villebrun and a team of about 10 people have been constructing inukshuks on the Chedoke Rail Trail for weeks as a way to foster conversation about Canada's missing and murdered aboriginal women. (Adam Carter/CBC)

Kristen Villebrun and a team of about 10 people have been constructing inukshuks on the Chedoke Rail Trail for weeks as a way to foster conversation about Canada’s missing and murdered aboriginal women. (Adam Carter/CBC)

By Adam Carter | CBC News, Posted: Nov 05, 2015

The response from people has been amazing: Villebrun

They’ve been appearing for weeks on Hamilton’s Chedoke Rail Trail.

If you look while out walking, you’ll see them – little Stone inukshuks constructed every few feet. They’re meant to represent the lives of missing and murdered aboriginal women – 1,181 of them, to be exact.

“And that’s a conservative estimate,” said Kristen Villebrun, who has been building them with a team of about ten people for six hours a day, four days a week since October.

Villebrun is a veteran of protests for aboriginal rights and activism. But this project is different, she says. It’s fostering conversation and serving to educate in a way that she has never seen. It’s part art project, part message.

“I thought it was a great idea to do an art installation like this instead of blocking a road,” she said. “And the response from people has been amazing.”

‘We’ll continue to do what we’re doing until we get our inquiry.’– Kristen Villebrun, organizer

Hundreds of people have stopped to ask the group what it is they’re building, and why. That’s all the opportunity Villebrun needs to talk to them about how aboriginal people continue to be overrepresented among Canada’s missing and murdered women.

According to a June report from the RCMP that was meant to update Canadians on the service’s efforts to address unresolved cases, as of April, 174 aboriginal women across all police jurisdictions remain missing – 111 of these under suspicious circumstances.

The Assembly of First Nations has said those findings demand an “urgent call” for action.

“There is a significant and tragic overrepresentation of indigenous women among the missing and murdered in this country,” AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde said in a written statement at that time.

In its election platform, the newly sworn in Liberals committed to “immediately” launching a national public inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in Canada.

Missing murdered Aboriginal women Hamilton

Kristen Villebrum (left) and Wendy Bush, are two of a group of about 10 who have been building inukshuks on the Chedoke Rail Trail. (Adam Carter/CBC)

The party said it would seek recommendations for governments, law enforcement and others to help “solve these crimes and prevent future ones.” It also promised to spend $40 million on the study over two years.

Villebrun said she’s been hearing promises for years – so while there are reasons to hope, she isn’t convinced just yet. “We’ll continue to do what we’re doing until we get our inquiry,” she said.

But it’s heartening to see people take an interest and ask questions, she said. Shirley Daicon walks the trail about three times a week, and returned for a second time on Wednesday afternoon with her camera just to take pictures and ask about the project’s message.

“I think it’s amazing what they’re doing,” Daicon said. “It’s pretty incredible.”

Sadly, not everyone thinks so. After hours of work, someone knocked down many of the little stone structures that had been erected along the Chedoke Trail’s path. That hasn’t discouraged Villebrun and her team, though.

“They go back up just as easy as they come down,” she said with a smirk.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/missing-murdered-aboriginal-women-remembered-with-1-181-inukshuks-1.3304516

 

Investigation Of Alleged Abuses By Quebec Police To Have Woman Observer

Brenda Michel of the Innu community of Mingan holds a sign at a press conference of Quebec First Nations chiefs who met in Val-d'Or north of Montreal Tuesday, October 27, 2015. They want an independent inquiry into allegations that Sûreté du Québec officers have sexually and physically abused Algonquin women while on duty. And they're demanding that the newly-elected federal Liberal government make haste on its promise to call a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women. JOHN KENNEY / MONTREAL GAZETTE

Brenda Michel of the Innu community of Mingan holds a sign at a press conference of Quebec First Nations chiefs who met in Val-d’Or north of Montreal Tuesday, October 27, 2015. JOHN KENNEY / MONTREAL GAZETTE

The Canadian Press

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard says a woman will be named the independent observer of an investigation into alleged police abuse of aboriginal women.

Couillard told reporters today that he’s narrowed down the list of possibilities to two or three people and hopes to announce the appointment soon.

Eight Quebec provincial police officers have been suspended amid allegations of assault, sexual misconduct and other abuses of power against aboriginal women.

The alleged incidents are reported to have occurred in the northwestern Quebec town of Val d’Or over several years and were the subject of a Radio-Canada investigative report.

Montreal police have been tasked with investigating the allegations.

Couillard is scheduled to meet with the chief of the Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador on Wednesday in Montreal to discuss the allegations.

http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/investigation-of-alleged-abuses-by-quebec-police-to-have-woman-observer

Inquiry Into Abuse Of Aboriginal Women Can’t Come Soon Enough

A vigil was held on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on March 5, 2014, for Loretta Saunders and to call for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women. A full public inquiry should be among Justin Trudeau’s first acts as prime minister.

A vigil was held on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on March 5, 2014, for Loretta Saunders and to call for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women. A full public inquiry should be among Justin Trudeau’s first acts as prime minister.

Editorial in Toronto Star

A full public inquiry is needed to end the silence around abuse of aboriginal women. It should be among Justin Trudeau’s first acts as prime minister.

If any more proof was needed that this country has to come to grips with the systematic abuse of aboriginal women, it came out of northwestern Quebec late last week.

In the town of Val-d’Or, a group of women from the surrounding Algonquin native reserves came forward to accuse officers from Quebec’s provincial police force, the Sûreté du Québec, of sexual assault and other abuse of power.

Some say they were forced to have sex with policemen. Others say they were dumped far out of town on frigid nights, forcing them to walk kilometres in the snow. Eight officers have been suspended, and the province promises an independent inquiry.

The abuse of native women across Canada has been going on for far too long, mostly unreported. Finally, with the election of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals last week, the country is about to get a national government committed to an inquiry into the approximately 1,200 missing and murdered aboriginal women identified by the RCMP since 1980.

That can’t come soon enough, and the revelations in Val-d’Or underscore the need for action. The women making the charges of abuse there are neither murdered nor missing. But their sickening allegations speak directly to the way too many aboriginal people — especially women — have been treated.

Others had made similar claims for years, but they were simply ignored. Still others may never have come forward, given the deep distrust of institutions such as the police that First Nations people have quite understandably developed.

A full public inquiry is needed to end the silence and rebuild trust. It should be among Trudeau’s first acts as prime minister.

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2015/10/26/inquiry-into-abuse-of-aboriginal-women-cant-come-soon-enough-editorial.html

March Held In Val-d’Or For Aboriginal Women Alleging Quebec Police Sex Abuse

A woman holds up a sign in support of aboriginal women at a march on Saturday in Val-d'Or, Que. ( Sandra Ataman/Radio-Canada)

A woman holds up a sign in support of aboriginal women at a march on Saturday in Val-d’Or, Que. ( Sandra Ataman/Radio-Canada)

CBC News

Supporters send ‘message of love’ to those who allege police abused them

Several hundred people marched through the rainy streets of Val-d’Or, Que., last night to show their solidarity with the aboriginal women who have come forward with a series of grave accusations against Quebec provincial police.

“The message is a message of love,” said organizer Manon Richmond.

“We just want to say, ‘we know your pain, we know your suffering.'”

Earlier this week, Radio-Canada’s investigative program Enquête aired a story about aboriginal women in the northern community alleging they were abused and sexually assaulted by provincial police officers.

According to the women, police officers routinely picked up those who appeared to be intoxicated, drove them out of town and left them to walk home in the cold.

Manon Richmond

Manon Richmond, who organized Saturday night’s protest, said she wanted to convey a “message of love.” (Radio-Canada)

Some allege they were physically assaulted or made to perform sex acts.

Since the program aired on Thursday evening, several more aboriginal women have come forward with abuse complaints to local First Nations community centres.

The eight officers allegedly involved are under investigation and have either been put on leave or transferred to administrative duty.

Quebec Public Safety Minister Lise Thériault said Friday her office had been aware of the investigation since May, but told reporters she was “just as shocked as the rest of the population” when she learned of the details on Enquête.

The probe has been handed over to Montreal police from the Sûreté duQuébec, so that officers would not be investigating members of their own force.

Community shaken

Val-d’Or Mayor Pierre Corbeil said the allegations have shaken the community. He said it was important for residents to come together to denounce violence.

At the march, one supporter held a sign “demanding justice” for the women who went public.

Another sign read, “Grandmother, mother, daughter, wife, sister — stop the violence against women.”

One woman taking part said she wanted to show her support for “the brave women who told their story.”

With files from Radio-Canada’s Sandra Ataman

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/val-dor-police-aboriginal-women-march-1.3287744?cmp=abfb

Cree Gov’t To Cancel Events In Val-d’Or After SQ Sex Abuse Allegations

(Radio-Canada)

(Radio-Canada)

CBC

Quebec provincial police officers in Val-d’Or accused of sexually assaulting aboriginal women

Reacting to allegations that police officers with the Sûreté du Québec abused and sexually assaulted aboriginal women in Val-d’Or, many Cree groups in Quebec are calling for a boycott of the community where they often shop, socialize and gather for major events such as hockey tournaments.

“It gave me a heavy heart,” said Linda L. Shecapio, president of the Cree Women of Eeyou Istchee Association.

“These women are mothers, aunties, sisters, nieces. Everybody is touched by this.”

Val-d'Or

Today the Cree Nation Government released a statement reacting with “anger, shame and pain” to the abuse described by several First Nations women in an investigative report by the Radio-Canada program Enquête.

“The lack of a strong and real response from the leadership of the town of Val-d’Or is a very disturbing example of where it would appear that municipal, provincial and even federal leaders would often rather wait out a media cycle than address the victimization of First Nations women in their jurisdictions,” the release says.

“If we cannot guarantee the safety of our people from certain communities, as leaders we will do what we can to direct them elsewhere or find safe alternatives.”

The Cree government says it is “mobilizing resources to ensure that we stand with these brave women and that any women from our own communities feel safe and know that they will not be shamed but protected if they wish to come forward.”

For people living in the nearby Cree communities such as Waswanipi, and coastal Cree communities such as Waskaganish, Chisasibi, Wemindji, Nemaska and Eastmain, Val-d’Or is a popular stopping place on the long road south. It’s where many people shop for groceries, buy trucks or other large items, fuel up their vehicles, and participate in large gatherings.

Jamie Moses of Eastmain says in light of the allegations, Crees should take their business elsewhere.

“In Val-d’Or we feel that we are not welcome,” Moses said.

Moses and others have suggested the annual hockey and broomball tournament be relocated to another town. The tournament sees hundreds of young Crees and their families travel to Val-d’Or for several days in December.

“We should look elsewhere, where it would be better to send our kids to play,” Moses said.

“We should look elsewhere where we are welcomed as visitors.”

Organizers of the tournament are meeting to look at this question on the weekend. The Cree government’s release says it will “take immediate action to cancel public events scheduled to be held in Val-d’Or,” although it does not specify whether it intends to cancel or relocate the tournament.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/cree-gov-t-to-cancel-events-in-val-d-or-after-sq-sex-abuse-allegations-1.3286726

Aboriginal Women’s Claims Of Police Sex Abuse Under Investigation

Bianca Moushoun says Quebec provincial police officers stationed in Val d'Or gave her beer and traded sex acts for money and cocaine. (Radio-Canada)

Bianca Moushoun says Quebec provincial police officers stationed in Val d’Or gave her beer and traded sex acts for money and cocaine. (Radio-Canada)

CBC News

8 provincial police officers in Val-d’Or, Que., questioned

Allegations of abuse of power and assault by Quebec provincial police officers in Val-d’Or, Que., have led to an internal investigation, a spokeswoman for the Sûreté du Québec has confirmed.

It comes after Radio-Canada’s investigative program, Enquête, uncovered stories of sexual violence toward aboriginal women in the Quebec town of 32,000. Val d’Or, about 500 kilometres northwest of Montreal, is located close to several Algonquin communities.

Wounded aboriginal woman

This woman, who asked not to be identified, shows a head wound she said was sustained in an altercation with a police officer who threw her out of his car after she refused to perform a sex act. (Radio-Canada)

Speaking publicly for the first time, alleged victims told Enquête about a pattern involving the provincial police over a period of at least two decades.

They say officers routinely picked up women who appeared to be intoxicated, drove them out of town and left them to walk home in the cold. Some allege they were physically assaulted or made to perform sex acts.

Allegation of drugs for sex

Bianca Moushoun recounted how male officers would give her beer they kept stored in the trunk of their vehicles. She said the men would later take her to a remote area.

“We went to a road in the woods, and that’s where they would ask me to perform fellatio,” said Moushoun. They would pay her “$100 for the service” and “$100 to keep quiet,” she added.

“Sometimes they paid me in coke. Sometimes they paid me in cash, sometimes both.”

She said the incidents occurred about two years ago.

Another woman, who spoke on condition her name not be used, said she was assaulted by an officer in his car on the road between Val-d’Or and Waswanipi, a Cree community about 275 kilometres northeast of the town.

“He wanted a blow job. I said no,” she wrote. “He threw me out and grabbed my hair. He left me alone on the highway.”

Photos of the woman, which she says were taken after that incident, show a cut above her right eye and a wound on the top of her head. Both were sustained in the altercation with the police officer, she said.

Not all ‘bad apples’

Carole Marcil, a bartender at Le Manoir in Val-d’Or, has heard such stories from aboriginal women countless times. She estimates as many as 30 women in the area have had similar encounters.

“If they don’t perform fellatio … they get massacred,” Marcil said. The women “show up with bumps, bruises, punches and burns.”

Marcil stresses “not all” provincial police officers in Val-d’Or act that way.

“There are two or three or four bad apples [among them],” Marcil said.

Officers questioned, but still on the job

Since the women spoke to Enquête, some have filed formal complaints, and an internal police investigation has begun.

“Fourteen files have been opened for allegations related to the behaviour of our officers,” said police spokeswoman Martine Asselin. “These are allegations, not charges for now,” she added.

“All the files will be transferred to [the Crown prosecutor’s office], and we’ll see what happens after that,” Asselin said.

About 50 officers are based at the Val-d’OrSûreté du Québec detachment. Eight among them have been questioned by investigators, Asselin said. They remain on the job.

The investigation is being led by the force’s professional standards directorate.

The investigators involved are not based in Val-d’Or, Asselin said.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/aboriginal-women-s-claims-of-police-sex-abuse-under-investigation-1.3282845

Roundtable Set On Missing, Murdered Women

WORKING TOGETHER – Elaine Taylor, Doris Bill, Adeline Webber, Doris Anderson and Krista Reid are seen left to right at this morning’s news conference. Photo by Vince Fedoroff

WORKING TOGETHER – Elaine Taylor, Doris Bill, Adeline Webber, Doris Anderson and Krista Reid are seen left to right at this morning’s news conference. Photo by Vince Fedoroff

By Pierre Chauvin  | Whitehorse Star

The Yukon will hold a regional roundtable on missing and murdered aboriginal women next February.

The announcement came this morning at a joint press conference involving the Yukon government, representatives from First Nations and aboriginal women’s groups.

Hosting the event was a recommendation from this year’s roundtable in Ottawa.

The Yukon had sent a delegation.

A family gathering will also be hosted on Dec. 12 in Whitehorse for First Nations families who have lost relatives to share their stories.

“The families deserve answers, concrete solutions and preventable measures,” Kwanlin Dün First Nation Chief Doris Bill told the press conference.

Action at the national level is also needed, she added.

“That action will be limited if the federal government does not get on board.”

Many noted at the press conferences that the change in federal government brings hopes that an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women will be called.

“Given our recent federal election, I’m encouraged by what I’m hearing from our prime minister-designate (Justin Trudeau),” said Bill.

“With the change of government on Monday evening, we welcome the opportunity to engage with Canada on the matter of a national inquiry and how we can and must work collectively to address this national tragedy,” said Elaine Taylor, the minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate.

The Yukon Legislative Assembly unanimously approved a motion calling for a national inquiry in 2013, she added.

Despite repeated calls, Prime Minister Stephen Harper consistently refused to take action on an inquiry during his 2006-15 terms in office.

In 2014, he said the issue shouldn’t be viewed as “sociological phenomenon” but simply as crimes.

But on Tuesday, Trudeau said his government would be moving forward “quickly” when asked about calling a national inquiry.

Representatives from the Yukon government, the territory’s 14 First Nations, Yukon aboriginal women’s groups, the communities and even the RCMP will be at the roundtable.

“Our hope is that families of missing and murdered indigenous women are acknowledged and honoured and their voices are meaningfully reflected at the Yukon roundtable and integrated with the current and future actions,” said Taylor.

The invitation has also been extended to First Nations in British Columbia and the Northwest Territories, Taylor said.

The latest statistics from the RCMP show more than 1,181 murdered and missing aboriginal women between 1980 and 2012.

“In Yukon, as in many areas in the country, we know sadly first-hand the tragic scope of this issue,” Taylor said.

There are 39 known cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls in the territory, statistics Bill called “absolutely unacceptable.

“At a national level, the facts remain, there has been little accomplished,” she said.

The gathering and the roundtables are about putting the families and the victims first, said Doris Anderson, the president of the Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council.

“These indigenous women and girls who have brought us together, have become leaders of a cause they gave their lives for,” she said.

“Let these events acknowledge that their stories are important and we will remain committed until their call for justice is answered.”

Those two events are not only about raising awareness but also providing healing, said Krista Reid, president of the Whitehorse Aboriginal Women’s Circle.

She is organizing the family gathering.

“Every family member who has lost a loved one, we’re encouraging you to join us at the family gathering,” she said.

“We need to understand what you’re going through. We need to be aware of what it was you needed from the community in your time of grief.”

An emotional Reid added that being a mother herself, she couldn’t imagine the grief families endured after losing relatives, in particular, daughters.

Reid reminded the audience these two events are part of a historic context – the movement supporting the missing and murdered indigenous women started more than than 30 years ago in Vancouver.

“Now we’re just catching up,” she said.

Families who want to attend the gathering can contact event co-ordinator, Katie Johnson, at 332-5283.

While observers won’t be allowed, professional counsellors and elders will be available during the gathering.

http://www.whitehorsestar.com/News/roundtable-set-on-missing-murdered-women