The Province – Mom still shines a light for missing daughter

7 Sep

Burning candle, poster campaign keep hope alive 12 years after Brianne Wolgram vanished

BY CHERYL CHAN, THE PROVINCE SEPTEMBER 7, 2010

Twelve years after Brianne Wolgram disappeared, Sheryl Wolgram still lights a candle and puts it on the window sill — a beacon to bring her missing daughter back home.

“I put it on the porch window facing the direction where she went missing and I let it burn all night so it’ll guide her way home,” said Sheryl, 61, fighting back tears.

The Revelstoke teen was only 19 when she vanished on Sept. 5, 1998, last seen at 11:30 p.m. outside a 7-Eleven store in the company of three unidentified girls about her age.

Five days later, her black Acura Integra was found on a logging road near Akolkolex Falls, about a 45-minute drive from her house. Her keys were in the ignition; her ID and cash found in the glove compartment.

The non-profit group Missing Children Society of Canada (MCSC) conducted a poster campaign in Revelstoke over the Labour Day weekend, canvassing the area and renewing pleas for information that might give a clue to Brianne’s disappearance, which still haunts her family and friends.

Sheryl still relives the events, which “feel as if they happened yesterday,” recounting how she was awakened by a phone call by Brianne’s friend Kristi Cain at 3:30 a.m., the heart-pounding drive she took around town trying to spot Brianne’s car and the panicked calls to family and friends.

Sheryl said she is sure Brianne, who worked at McDonald’s and a Super Save gas station, did not run away and did not hurt herself.

Brianne worked a shift at the gas station that afternoon. Co-workers later reported she seemed upset and broke down into tears. Later on that evening, she made plans with Cain to meet up at 11 p.m.

The three girls last seen with Brianne haven’t come forward and haven’t been identified, which baffles Sheryl considering Revelstoke is a small, tight-knit community.

“Maybe Brianne went to a party with them. Maybe an accident happened. Maybe that’s why they never came forward because they’re afraid,” said Sheryl.

“I just wish if it was an accident that the people would come forward and let us know what happened.”

Her husband Cliff, a retired Canadian Pacific Railway engineer, is clinging to the thought that their only daughter is alive, said Sheryl: “Until he sees it, she isn’t dead. He wants the proof.”

Sheryl herself had a moment two days after Brianne went missing, sitting outside on the porch, when “my heart fell into my stomach and I felt she was no longer with us.”

But despite her fears, Sheryl said she still has hope, citing stories she has heard where some girls get found after over 12 years.

“We can never be sure,” said Sheryl. “But until we have proof she is no longer with us, then we still can’t give up hope that she is still alive and out there.”

Anyone with information can call MCSC anonymously at 1-800-661-6160 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. chchan@theprovince.com

http://www.twitter.com/cherylchan

Posted with permission. Courtesy The Province
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