Nearly 20 years since 21-year-old Lisa Marie Young disappeared from a house party after accepting a ride from a man she and her friends had just met, a new incentive has surfaced from an anonymous donor.
Not a trace of her has been seen or heard of since June 30, 2002, leaving Lisa’s family heartbroken and desperate for answers.
Lisa Marie Young went to a downtown Nanaimo night club with friends on the evening of June 29, 2002. At closing time, Lisa and her friends struck up a conversation with a man they had met in the club parking lot. He offered them a ride in his older model red Jaguar to a local house party. The group of friends accepted the ride. Shortly after arriving, the group moved to another house party.
At the second house party, in the Cathers Lake area of Nanaimo, Lisa said she was hungry and was offered a ride to a sandwich shop by the driver of the Jaguar. She accepted his offer and left with him.
Lisa’s last communication came at 4:30 a.m., June 30, when she texted a friend expressing concern about the driver and her situation.
According to Lisa’s mother, Joanne, who has since passed away, Lisa had big plans the following day. She was excited about starting a new job and moving into her new apartment with the help of her father. So, the parents were immediately concerned when they didn’t hear from Lisa the following morning.
Nanaimo RCMP tracked down both the car and the driver, but never found Lisa.
A Crime Stoppers re-enactment of Lisa’s last known activities was aired in early 2011, generating new leads but nothing leading to the whereabouts of Young.
Cyndy Hall, a close friend of Lisa’s and, subsequently, the family, has maintained a Facebook page called Lisa Marie Young where she posts regular updates of events and news about the case.
She recently posted that the Lil’ Red Dress Project has offered to sponsor a Lisa billboard for a year. Carol Frank, aunt to Lisa, said she believes the billboard will be erected in Nanoose, north of Nanaimo.
Carol has taken up the crusade held by her late sister Joanne Young, who passed away due to a long-standing illness in June 2017. The family believe that the stress of not knowing what happened to her daughter aggravated the grieving mother’s condition, hastening her death.
“My sister wanted to bring her home and give her a proper burial,” said Carol, adding that she was grateful to Cyndy Hall for keeping Lisa’s cause in the public eye. “I think of my late sister Marlene Joanne…and how hard she fought till her last breath to bring Lisa home.”
So when an anonymous person donated $50,000 USD to help find Lisa, the family was filled with gratitude. According to Carol, the donor follows the Lisa Marie Young Facebook page and stepped forward with reward funds to help them find answers.
“The donation is being set up through a lawyer and will only be paid out for information that leads to the location and/or recovery of Lisa’s remains,” Carol told Ha-Shilth-Sa.
She acknowledged that the family knew early on that this was a homicide investigation, and their wish is to bring Lisa home for burial.
Of the generous donation, Carol wrote, “today my sister would be thankful, honored this person would do this for Lisa.”
She noted that this June marks 20 years since they last saw Lisa.
“It takes a toll on many involved, I'm so thankful for the advocates’ hard work they do in keeping Lisa’s name out there,” said Carol.
Family and advocates meet regularly with investigators, who continue to follow incoming leads.
The family says people may contribute to the reward fund by contacting Cyndy Hall on the Lisa Marie Young Facebook page.
Tips should be called into Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345