Remembering Jessie Foster

By Perly Viasmensky
As I do every year, for the last 13 years, around the 29th of March, the date when Jessie disappeared from where she was living in North Las Vegas at 1009 Cornerstone Place, with an individual by the name of Peter Bertrand Todd, who in her naïve mind she thought was her fiancé.
While still in high school Jessie met Donald Vaz from Calgary, AB, Canada. In the spring of 2005, he invited Jessie to go on a trip to Florida. The brainwashing started with that trip to Ft. Lauderdale and Key West, boating and para-sailing on the Atlantic Ocean. After introducing Jessie to the glamour of places like Manhattan, New York and Atlantic City, New Jersey, Las Vegas was the ultimate place — the Entertainment Capital of the World.
Jessie was left in Las Vegas in the company of Richard Barrington Walcott and Ivonne Hebrechten, better known as “Angel,” a well-known prostitute and human traffic recruiter in Clark County.
They then left Jessie in the company of Peter Bertrand Todd who became her boyfriend at the time. Jessie wanted to celebrate her 21st birthday in Las Vegas. Little did her family know that Peter Todd forced her to prostitute herself.
Jessie disappeared without a trace and the investigation by the North Las Vegas Police Department was never done properly from the beginning.
After years of suffering by Jessie’s Mom, Glendene Grant, and her sisters, Jessie’s cold case was finally aired by Dateline on national TV.
Dateline was very lucky to be able to speak with one detective of the North Las Vegas Police Department, Detective McCloud, because the Las Vegas Tribune had tried for years to get some input from the NLVPD without success.
The detective told Dateline that they do not consider Peter Todd to be a suspect in Jessie’s disappearance. I hate to disagree with the detective because I have always considered Peter Bertrand Todd the main suspect in the case. Otherwise, how does the detective explain that Todd so suddenly disappeared from Las Vegas a short time after Jessie vanished?
According to the Dateline report, Detective McCloud said that Peter Todd showed them the room that showed Jessie left with all her clothes, leaving behind her makeup and toothbrush. This is a statement nobody would believe because the first things Jessie would have packed were her makeup and toothbrush.
Police never conducted a proper investigation of the house at 1009 Cornerstone Place, checking for blood or any other sign of criminal activity, considering the fact that Jessie was the victim of a brutal beating by Peter Bertrand Todd and had to be hospitalized with a broken jaw.
Todd’s dubious business practices were never investigated by authorities in Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas, where he had previously lived.
Human trafficking became an epidemic in Nevada and especially in Las Vegas. Vice detectives of police departments in Nevada, and probably any other place in the United States, have the tendency to go after and arrest a supposed prostitute, when in reality they ought to follow
her to where the pimp will be waiting to receive his profits from his “ATM machine,” who just happens to be the girl he sent to prostitute herself for his personal benefit.
Numerous girls are arrested in our city daily for solicitation and then thrown in the Clark County Detention Center until they can appear before a judge or get bailed out by their pimps. The traffickers remain unknown and untouched when, in reality, they are the ones who should be targeted by law enforcement. But very seldom do we see human traffickers prosecuted in Las Vegas.
Many are under the impression that human traffickers shuttle women in and out of Asia to work in massage parlors, many of which are fronts for prostitution. Not all of those women, however, come from Asia; many are coming from our neighboring country of Canada, lured into their situation by recruiters like Yvonne “Angel” Hubrechtsen, offering false promises of a career as a model or a dancer.
Las Vegas is a hub of human trafficking, but authorities have the tendency to ignore the traffickers and pimps as though they are afraid of them. In many cases, the girls are sold to people in other countries or disappear without a trace as in Jessie’s case, and we never know if the pimp got away with murder.
We are thinking of you Jessie; you will never be 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

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