A cadaver dog search is scheduled to run from Dec. 1 to 3 in search of missing Victoria woman Emma Fillipoff.
Six years ago to the day Emma disappeared from the streets of downtown Victoria, and since then her mother, Shelley Fillipoff, has not stopped searching.
“Today is really not that different from yesterday, and not all that different from tomorrow,” Fillipoff said. “But we have marker dates, and today happens to be a maker for Emma.”
For years the last known sighting was on Nov. 28, 2012, in front of the Empress Hotel by two Victoria Police officers. That evening, Emma was seen barefoot and seemed anxious and paranoid. The officers spoke with her for 45 minutes and determined she was not at risk of harming herself or others, so they left.
This summer a new witness, simply known as William, came forward reporting he had seen Fillipoff the morning of Nov. 29 as he drove to work.
He gave her a ride to the corner of Admirals and Craigflower roads around 5:15 a.m. because she was heading for Colwood.
This prompted Fillipoff, to ask for the help of famed cadaver dog handler Kim Cooper, who has appeared on CBC’s “Someone Knows Something” podcast and National Geographic’s “Finding Dial.”
Through a GoFundMe campaign, the wider community helped fundraise over $6,000 to bring Cooper and her dogs over.
“This is something that needed to be done, but for a variety of reasons no ground search has been done of this nature,” Fillipoff said. “It’s something that’s necessary, and I understand that, but that doesn’t take away the hope that she’s still alive.”
The three-day search will involve Cooper and Fillipoff’s right-hand search volunteer Kimberly Bordage. They will explore the Craigflower bridge, Gorge Waterway, railroad tracks from Vic West to Colwood, the Galloping Goose Trail, Portage Park and Inlet, Goldstream Park and Thetis Lake.
Fillipoff, who lives in Ontario, will not be in Victoria during this time.
“It was a matter of saving myself; I needed the protection because we don’t know what will be found,” Fillipoff said.
Even in making this precautionary decision, Fillipoff said she still has faith that her daughter is alive.
“My hope is unwavering, I do believe she’s alive,” Fillipoff said, noting that Emma had been suffering from mental health issues. “Something happened, something went wrong with Emma. It’s very possible that she’s not aware that she’s missing.”
Fillipoff knows many people will want to volunteer for the cadaver search, but for the dogs it will be easier with less people around.
Anyone with information on Emma is asked to phone the Victoria Police Department at 250-995-7654, or to go to helpfindemmafillipoff.com.