It has been 168 long days — and 168 restless nights — since they’ve last seen her smiling face.

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This article was published 29/12/2015 (2375 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It has been 168 long days — and 168 restless nights — since they’ve last seen her smiling face.

And while the calender is set to flip to the start of a new year, time has virtually stood still for members of Thelma Krull’s family.

The 57-year-old Winnipeg woman vanished without a trace while out for a morning stroll on July 11.

Bill McCausland continues the search for Thelma Krull, Wednesday, September 16, 2015.

TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Bill McCausland continues the search for Thelma Krull, Wednesday, September 16, 2015.

"It’s extremely frustrating that someone can disappear in a city such as Winnipeg and no one seems to have a clue as to what happened," Krull’s daughter, Lisa Marquis Besser, told the Free Press on Tuesday. "It honestly makes myself fearful to be in this city anywhere alone knowing that something like this can happen in a split second."

The police homicide unit took over the investigation days after Krull disappeared, leading to plenty of speculation, rumour and gossip. There have been numerous community searches, public pleas for help and even rewards offered. None has proven fruitful to date.

Krull’s mysterious disappearance and all the lingering questions is the story that will stick with me the most beyond 2015.

I spent a few hours inside her home early August, meeting with her husband, daughter and best friend to discuss the case. I went into the interview armed with a ton of questions — including a few uncomfortable ones I knew had to be asked.

Bob Krull said little, wiping tears from his eyes on a few occasions. There are those who believe he should be viewed as a potential suspect. But I saw a broken man, filled with despair and deeply missing his wife of 29 years.

Thelma Krull's husband Bob sat down for an interview with Winnipeg Free Press reporter. Thelma has been missing for almost four weeks.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Thelma Krull's husband Bob sat down for an interview with Winnipeg Free Press reporter. Thelma has been missing for almost four weeks.

However, I asked Bob why he referred to his wife in the past tense when speaking days earlier at a news conference. That had certainly raised some eyebrows around town.

Bob said it was an innocent slip of the tongue, something he didn’t even realize he’d done.

"You take the most devastating thing that’s ever happened to you in your life, you take the person who is closest to you away, you put yourself in a state of being sad, depressed, lost, confused, exhausted mentally and physically, and then you throw a bunch of people in your face and some video cameras... Until you’re there and in that position, it’s hard to say the right words," Marquis Besser said at the time of her stepfather’s comments.

Everyone who knows Thelma Krull say there’s no way she’d cause any harm to herself or missing on her own and simply neglect to let loved ones know about her plans. She loved her family too much to put them through that, they say.

Of course, that would only seem to increase the likelihood that foul play is involved, and Krull is in no position to seek help.

So who would harm this seemingly loving wife, mother, grandmother — apparently in broad daylight in a quiet residential neighbourhood on a sunny Saturday morning?

That’s the million-dollar question police are obviously wrestling with, and what no doubt triggered the early involvement of the homicide unit. We know Krull’s glasses were found days after she disappeared near the Valley Gardens Community Centre, a troubling sign to say the least.

Is there other evidence police have located but which hasn’t been shared with the family and public? Possibly, as so-called "hold back" evidence is typical in any investigation.

"This whole scenario is straight out of a movie. But sometimes, movies end with happy endings," Marquis Besser told me this past summer as we sat in their all-too-quiet home in Harbourview South.

But in these cold, dark winter days, an ending of any kind now seems so distant.

"The holidays were hard for my whole family, near and far. My mom’s favourite time of the year is Christmas which made it even harder — hard to go shopping, hard to hear Christmas music on the radio, hard to go to get-togethers and staff dinners, even hard to say the words Merry Christmas to people," Marquis Besser said Tuesday. "It’s really not fair that something like this could happen to such a great person. Someone who had no biased opinions of people, who would offer to help where ever possible, someone who believed in humanity and good in people. I’d like to know where the good people are now to give us that tip to where she may be."

Marquis Besser says she now struggles to believe in one of the key values her mother instilled in her.

"My mom raised me to be a very happy positive person. I grew up with phrases of ‘It must’ve been meant to be,’ ‘everything happens for a reason,’ ‘C’est la vie,’ and the belief that karma will pervail," she said Tuesday. "These thoughts that I’ve grown up believing were shattered almost six months ago."

www.mikeoncrime.com

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.