March 29 marks the seventh anniversary of the disappearance of Jessica Edith Louise Foster, better known to her family and friends 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 of course 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 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 drove a number of expensive cars. According to Glendene Grant, Jessie’s mother, Jessie told her family that Peter Todd was independently wealthy, but police believe he was simply a pimp, since he didn’t have a recognized place of employment in Las Vegas.
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 this man.
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.
When Jessie’s mother contacted Peter Todd, he told her that Jessie had left him, taking all her belongings except her hair dryer 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 police launch an investigation of the person in question; but as far as we could tell, Peter Bertrand Todd has never been investigated thoroughly.
Without much to go on, detectives in Las Vegas fear that Jessie may have become victim of an international human trafficking ring.
Jessie, you might be missing, but you are never forgotten.
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 tribune.com.