Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fiancé of missing young woman finds it too painful to live in city

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The city holds too many painful memories for Matt Bushby.

So many, he has moved his young, motherless family to the country.

Bushby's fiancée, Claudette Osborne, went missing on July 25, 2008 around 6:30 a.m. She was last seen near the Lincoln Motor Hotel on McPhillips Street near Mountain Avenue. There has been no trace of Osborne ever since. She was only 21 years old.

"I prefer not to live in Winnipeg full-time, there are just too many memories," said Bushby. "When I drive down the street I can't help but look when people look similar to Claudette."

Although the pain of losing a fiancée is always with him, Bushby said he remains strong for his kids, ages four, six and seven, and is always watching out for their safety.

"I can't help but watch my kids like hawks because losing one is enough. I try to do the things Claudette would have wanted us to do. I take care of them and make sure they have everything they need. It eases some of the stress. They keep me busy."

Bushby also makes sure his kids keep the memory of their mother alive.

"The older kids have memories of Claudette and I do everything I can to reinforce those memories and we always celebrate her birthday. Claudette loved birthdays."

Although Bushby admits Osborne dealt with problems, he still believes the response from the police when she first went missing was far too slow.

"The stereotypical response was that this was a person with an addiction so she probably just went off and it isn't really an issue. But now since we have lost so many young women, it seems like that is no longer the way they handle things. It's acted upon now. It's not like the two weeks that went by for us," said Bushby.

Although Bushby said he waited for a response from the police, it didn't take him long to realize that he should be very concerned.

"Right in my heart I just felt there was something horribly wrong. I was thinking very quickly this is extremely strange. I think I knew Claudette so well that it just did not make sense for her to take off. She loved her children too much."

Winnipeg Police Service investigators say Osborne was last seen near the Lincoln Motor Hotel. They have learned that she went from the hotel to the area around Selkirk Avenue and King Street around 6:30 a.m. that morning. The police missing person's unit is actively investigating the case.

"Investigators firmly believe that there are people out there that know specific details about Claudette's disappearance, and we need those people to come forward with crucial information," said the Winnipeg police in a press release.

Matt said the first few years after Osborne's disappearance were focused on finding her, but now "the focus has switched to closure."

While Bushby admitted Osborne did have some problems, he said she knew she was capable of living a clean life and being a great mother. He said life without her has brought him more pain than he ever could have imagined.

"You wouldn't wish this on your worst enemy. It never gets easy. I just wish nobody else would ever have to go through this."

Anyone with information on the disappearance of Claudette Osborne can call the Winnipeg Police Missing Persons Unit at 204-986-6250 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-8477 (TIPS).

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 24, 2013 A3

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