A Waswanipi family’s hope to see their loved one is slowly waning now that a full two months have passed since Andrew Shecapio was last seen.
A prospector and father of two children, he was last seen November 25 at a bar in Villebois, 30 kilometres from Lasarre.
According to Elizabeth Bosum, his wife of 10 years, he left November 15 to go to work for Geosig in Villebois, about 2-3 hours from his home in Val d’Or. It’s a job he’s had off and on for around 20 years.
She received a call from his boss two days after his last appearance, wondering why he didn’t come into work. That’s when alarm bells went off in her head.
“He never misses work when he’s away, so I found it strange that he didn’t come in,” she said. “The last transaction with his bank card was when he bought a six pack and took out extra money for a cab.”
Shecapio even told the taxi driver to come back and pick him up that night after the bar closed, but he was no longer there when the taxi arrived, according to the driver.
Police investigators said that his bank card has not been used since then and he has not contacted his boss for his last paycheck. They told the family that they’d have to wait till the snow melts to find him.
“The kids are used to him being gone for awhile, but when he was gone longer than usual, they started to suspect something,” said Bosum, who didn’t tell her two children Shahone, 10, and Shania, 8, until two weeks after she found out he was missing.
“He told the kids that he’d be back in 14 days and he would bring Christmas presents for them. They asked me about it and I said that daddy got lost. They go to the window every night and look to see if he’s coming. My oldest told me that she cries in the bathroom and the youngest is saying that he’s never coming back because if he were around he’d at least call or send us letters.”
Bosum says she didn’t know what to tell her.
“Shania wanted to know how he could get lost because he was a big man. She thought only kids could get lost,” said Bosum.
“He used to play with my oldest daughter on the Playstation. The other day she went to play and came back to me and said, ‘It’s not the same without daddy, I don’t want to play if daddy’s not here.’”
Bosum said that one of the hardest things to deal with since her husband’s disappearance has been the rumours. “I can’t believe what the people were saying. Some said he’s with another woman, others said that
Andrew was hit by an 18-wheeler. My kids were told at school that they were replaced by another family.
It was tough for me to hear that and I told my daughters not to believe it. It was just people trying to make us mad,” she fumed.
Even though it’s been over two months, Bosum is holding out hope. “I think he’s lost in the bush, maybe something happened to him that night and he wandered into the bush,” she said, adding that he has a bad temper when he’s drinking and has gotten into fights because of his sharp tongue.
The family checked the jails in Ontario and Quebec and the hospitals in the surrounding area where he was last seen, soon after the phone call from his boss and came up empty.
“My sister-in-law and I went down to Lasarre to look for him and no one knew him. Some of the people in the bar said they saw him that night, but didn’t see where he went after.”
The family’s financial outlook is bleak. Bosum currently has no income, and has had to apply for welfare, which she says could take months before she receives her first check. “My rent is due and I can’t pay it. My daughter needs new glasses and I can’t even afford it.”
Ouje-Bougoumou, where Bosum is from, and Shecapio’s home community of Waswanipi have both sent money to help out, but it’s not enough.
She can’t even receive her husband’s last pay-check because his boss needs his signature on the time sheet.
His sister Vadney has been relentlessly helping to find her brother. She says she was bugging police to start searching, but they had to wait a certain time period before treating the case as a missing persons file.
“We went to go see where he was staying and his bags were all packed,” she said. “We asked around from Lasarre to Timmins and put up posters all over.”
“I think something bad happened to him. He wouldn’t take off on his kids like that, especially just before Christmas.”
His wife is hoping for some kind of a sign. “I cry a lot at night when I think about him. I try to tell myself that he’s coming home. He should have been home by now.”
Donations to Andrew Shecapio’s family can be sent to:
863 Abitibi, Val d’Or QC J9P 2C2