The State of Nevada owes a grieving mother an answer to the disappearance of her young daughter.
How can you tell a mother to forget about the disappearance of her daughter, whether she’s been gone for ten years or only a day? A mother can never forget and neither can any of us, who have been following Jessica Foster’s case for ten long years.
I wrote about her case many times before and I am still puzzled that the authorities of North Las Vegas, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police and even the Attorney General’s office never launched an investigation into her disappearance when they have so many people to investigate. They even allowed the persons involved to walk away without even an interview.
Our new Attorney General believes that sex trafficking is a matter of great importance to his department and to all of us, for that matter, but cold cases are also very important. And Jessie Foster’s case is one of those cold cases that need to be investigated. Jessie was only two years out of her teens when she disappeared without a trace from the city of North Las Vegas.
March 29 marks the tenth anniversary of the disappearance of Jessica Edith Louise Foster, better known to her family and all of us as “Jessie.”
Jessie, a beautiful girl with blonde hair and hazel eyes, from Kamloops, British Columbia, was just 21 when she disappeared from North Las Vegas without a trace. She is a suspected sex-trafficking victim.
Jessie met Donald Vaz in Calgary while she was still in high school. In the spring of 2005, he invited her to go on a trip to Florida. That trip to Ft. Lauderdale and Key West, with boating and para-sailing on the Atlantic Ocean, was naturally impressive to the young, naive girl.
Little did she know that Vaz was preparing her for a quickly-approaching future of prostitution. Vaz introduced Jessie to the glamour of places like Manhattan, New York and Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Jessie was recruited in Calgary to work in Las Vegas in May 2005 by a woman from Merced, California, Yvonne “Angel” Hubrechtsen, and introduced to a man of dubious reputation, Richard Barrington Walcott.
While in Las Vegas she met Peter Bertrand Todd, a man believed to be twice her age, and they became engaged (or so she thought) and were living together at 1009 Cornerstone Place in North Las Vegas, which, according to the Assessor’s Office, was under the name of Trish Van Arnsdale (aka Sierra) and Peter Todd as joint tenants, husband and wife, the place where Jessie was seen, or known, to be living.
The man she moved in with not only resided in an expensive home, but also drove a number of expensive cars. According to Glendene Grant, Jessie’s mother, Jessie told her family that Peter Todd was independently wealthy (that was how naive she was), but police believe he was simply a pimp, since he didn’t have a recognized place of
employment in Las Vegas. After Jessie’s disappearance the police never bothered to investigate or interrogate the supposed pimp.
Jessie kept constant telephone communication with her mother and sisters. Little did her family know that she was forced into prostitution by Peter Todd and arrested a couple of times by Las Vegas Police and hospitalized once for a broken jaw after a brutal beating by Peter Todd. Her last contact with her mother was on March 24, 2006, in a telephone conversation in which she discussed returning home to Canada for a visit. On March 28, 2006, Jessie spoke to her sister, Crystal, making plans for them to meet in Kamloops so they could drive together to Calgary for their stepsister’s wedding reception on April 29. She never made the trip. That was the last time anyone in the
family spoke to Jessie or heard from her.
When Jessie’s mother contacted Peter Todd, he told her that Jessie had left him, taking all her belongings except her hairdryer and make-up.
This puzzled Jessie’s mother, Glendene, since she knew at the time and still does that the last thing Jessie would leave behind was her make-up.
As we have seen many times before, for a much less significant crime, Metro Police launch an investigation of the person in question, making a big scene — bringing in a forensic scientist to spray luminol onto surfaces at crime scenes to detect invisible blood stains; but as far as we could tell, Peter Bertrand Todd has never been investigated
thoroughly and neither was his property on Cornstone Place in North Las Vegas.
Without much to go on, detectives in Las Vegas fear that Jessie may have become victim of an international human trafficking ring.
It does not matter if it is ten days or ten years. We believe it is the duty of the Metropolitan Police Department and the Attorney General’s Office to reopen this case and investigate whatever happened to Jessie Foster and to interrogate Peter Bertrand Todd about the whereabouts of Jessie Foster, something they never did at the
beginning of this case.
We honestly believe that after ten years the Nevada authorities should give this mother the peace of mind to know whatever happened to her daughter.
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Perly Viasmensky is the General Manager of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Perly Viasmensky, email her at pviasmensky@lasvegas