Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Great loss their common bond, daughters lost to violence

Slain women's mothers share insight, strength at News Café event and tonight

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They are three women who share a horrific common bond -- their young daughters were all abducted and slain in random attacks that made headlines across the country.

Now these grieving mothers have gathered in Winnipeg to discuss their loss, the supports and services they used and other aspects of their high-profile cases.

Wilma Derksen, Lesley Parrott and Priscilla de Villiers will appear at the Winnipeg Free Press News Café today at 10 a.m. for an intimate and interactive public forum. The event is open to the public, and seating is on a first-come basis.

The trio will participate today at 7 p.m. in a formal panel discussion called Mothers x 3 at the Inn at The Forks. The event is hosted by the Pay Forward Project and tickets are available for $10. Call 204-925-3410 or email

Derksen's 13-year-old daughter, Candace, vanished in November 1984 while walking home from her Winnipeg school, triggering the biggest public search in city history. Her body was found inside a storage shed in January 1985. Candace's killing would remain unsolved for more than two decades until advancements in forensic sciences and DNA analysis led police to convicted sex offender Mark Grant. He was eventually convicted of the murder in 2011 and is serving a life sentence. Grant's appeal of the verdict is set to be heard next month.

Parrott's 11-year-old daughter, Alison, vanished from her Toronto-area home in July 1986 after receiving a phone call asking to meet someone for a photo shoot connected to a sports team she was on. Her body was found two days later in a densely wooded area. She had been raped and strangled. Francis Roy, a career criminal with an extensive history of sex-related attacks on young victims, was arrested a decade later and ultimately convicted of first-degree murder.

De Villiers' 19-year-old daughter, Nina, was abducted and killed in August 1991 while jogging in Burlington, Ont. Her attacker was Jonathan Yeo, a man with an extensive criminal history who was out on bail at the time. He committed suicide before he could be put on trial. De Villiers went on to found CAVEAT (Canadians Against Violence Everywhere Advocating its Termination), a national organization advocating for change in government policy on crime.

"Quite a few years ago we visited together in Toronto and spent a wonderful day together, realizing the similarities of our cases while sharing wisdoms of how to get through it," said Derksen. "These women are special. I tribute Priscilla with many of the significant changes that have been made regarding victims' rights over the years. Lesley came with the emotional understanding of grief and how to turn our emotional chaos into something positive through her understanding of resilience."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 21, 2013 A2


Updated on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 10:53 AM CDT: update live

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