Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Hope is hard to hold on to when malicious rumours about the disappearance of Angela Morningstar Alexis are spreading across the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation in Alberta, says her godmother and aunt Jessica Alexis.
“For her life to be carelessly talked about like that really hurts. That hurts and I wish…somebody would find it in their heart to (understand) this is a human life…You just don’t talk about somebody’s life like that. Like carelessly,” said Jessica.
Angela, 28, was reported missing to the Mayerthorpe RCMP by her father Gerald “Bobby” Alexis on Sept. 2.
She was last seen by family members on Aug. 17, says Jessica, although she may have been spotted travelling on a quad up to two days later.
Angela returned to the First Nation, located 30 km northwest of Edmonton, on Aug. 13, after being released from the Fort Saskatchewan Correctional Centre. She stopped to visit briefly with her sister Isabella in Edmonton before travelling home, Jessica said.
The last family member to see Angela was her uncle Francis at 6:15 p.m. Aug. 17. Angela had used her iPad to Facebook message Francis for cigarettes. He met her at the house she was staying at on the reserve.
The missing person’s report was made to the RCMP two weeks later because Angela’s sister Isabella in Edmonton got a phone call from another aunt living on the reserve telling her that the aunt suspected something bad had happened to Angela as she hadn’t been seen for a while.
Isabella phoned her father who then phoned the RCMP.
That aunt, says Jessica, who she will not name, and other people on the reserve, have been quick to offer up rumours as to Angela’s whereabouts and her condition.
Family members and community members have responded to those rumours by searching burned down property, abandoned sheds and drug houses on the reserve. Community members have supplied drones, quads and radios to help with the numerous searches.
The searches have turned up nothing and the rumours have “added to the trauma,” says Jessica.
But she believes there may be a little bit of truth in all the rumours they’ve heard.
“Angela had been living a hard life,” said Jessica.
Angela has a troubled past, experiencing domestic violence, substance abuse and heart ache.
After being abused by the father of two of her children, and in order to keep her three small children out of the child welfare system, Angela handed over care of her children to her mother and step-father, Janet and Marvin Gibbs. They resided in Rochfort Bridge, Alta.
In December 2019, a fire in the early morning hours claimed the lives of all five family members living in the house. The fire was later ruled accidental.
At the time, Angela was living in Mayerthorpe, Alta.
Ever since then, Angela has been in and out of jail, says Jessica, and she’s well known to the Mayerthorpe RCMP.
Jessica, who recently became the contact person for the RCMP in the investigation, says the RCMP are concerned for Angela’s safety. She says they’ve checked hospitals, shelters and jails and Angela’s name has not come up.
As Jessica and the family continue to get tips about Angela, they have turned them over to the RCMP.
Jessica says the most recent tip they received was passed on last night to the constable heading the investigation. She says the constable followed up on the tip right away and then phoned her back saying he would be following up further.
Jessica adds that many of the names she’s hearing from the community and that she’s passing along to the RCMP are names the RCMP are familiar with.
Jessica is certain someone knows about Angela and she’s asking them to please step forward.
“My hope is that we find her. We just want to find her,” said Jessica.
Cpl. Deanna Fontaine with the RCMP’s K-Division said the Mayerthorpe detachment is “actively looking” for Angela.
“We’re still actively investigating the circumstances around her being missing,” said Fontaine.
Jessica and her family are no strangers to tragedy.
In March 2013, Angela’s brother Gary Francis Rain went missing. His body was located in June of that year. Jessica says they were told the cause of his death was undetermined, but hypothermia was strongly suspected.
In March 2015, cousin Misty Faith Potts went missing. That investigation is ongoing, said Fontaine.
Local Journalism Initiative Reporters are supported by a financial contribution made by the Government of Canada.