FOUR: Mental illness runs in the family.
Six: Okay. So I'm dead.It has been more than one thousand days. Many people suggest that not knowing what happened is probably worse than knowing that Emma wasn’t alive. “Wouldn’t you rather have closure?” people ask. Shelley seemed baffled by this idea.
“What are you going to do? Close the book on your child’s life?”
And yet, Shelley has certainly considered that Emma may not be out there anymore. Given Emma’s fragile state, suicide has emerged as a possibility. Back when Emma was giving away her stuff, staff at Sandy Merriman suspected Emma might be suicidal. They’d made one phone call to a mental health organization who told them to call again should Emma’s condition appear to worsen. From their perspective, Emma’s state never merited a second phone call. During the days before Emma’s disappearance, Shelley asked the shelter staff if they felt Emma was in danger and if she should come even though Emma told her not to. The staff had answered, “No, she’s in no danger.” Despite their earlier belief that Emma had been suicidal, and her recent paranoid behaviour.
But there are parts of the suicide theory that don’t add up. After throwing out bags of her belongings, Emma went back to the dump to retrieve a toy she’d had since she was an infant. And she’d gone to the trouble of selling a bunch of her things which doesn’t meet the profile of someone planning to end her life.As we’ve mentioned, it’s unclear as to why Emma was at the women’s shelter in the first place. Shelley speculates that she might have been trying to save money to go to Japan. To me, this seems like a drastic method for saving money, especially since she had two to three thousand dollars in her bank account, and a car. Up until the end of October, Emma had worked at a fish and chips restaurant called Red Fish Blue Fish. The restaurant had closed for the season, but Emma’s employment would resume in early February. She never showed up.
In any event, Emma hadn’t been out of a job for very long, and she wasn’t totally broke. Shelter staff said that she didn’t fit in at all with the other people at the shelter, many of them drug addicts, prostitutes and victims of abuse. Why was Emma there? Was she hiding from someone, either real or in her mind? Did she feel she was a threat to herself?
On Emma’s laptop, police found a note addressed to “Everyone, from Dead Emma.”
I figure someone will be on this computer at some point and will read this.
Okay. So I'm dead.
Floating about on energy or not.
Watching dying stars
Reviving stars and dreaming milky dreams and shadow dancing on your time lines
Good luck, everyheart.
I love you, Em."
|Emma and her camera|
This may look like a total red flag; however, experts agree that there is nothing in here to suggest that Emma had any intention of killing herself. According to the specialists consulted for the Fifth Estate documentary, the letter lacks the specificity and plan that are typically present in a suicide note. They concluded that it was more of a last will and testament, however morbid and unusual that may seem for a 26-year-old. Emma’s mother and close friends insist that Emma loved life far too much to end her own. Based on the fluctuating nature of Emma’s mind and people’s minds in general, this probably isn’t enough to rule out suicide. But if Emma were going to kill herself, why did she buy a prepaid credit card on the morning of her disappearance? And what about the cell phone?
On December 5, 2012 at 11:17 a.m. a man used Emma’s pre-paid credit card to buy cigarettes at a Petro Canada in Victoria. The man claimed that he found the card on the side of the road near the Juan de Fuca Rec Centre. This is between 10 and 12 km from where Emma was last seen depending on which route you take. About a two hour walk. Although the man who found the credit card passed a polygraph, he later called Shelley to confess that he’s really not sure if he actually found the card where he said he did. He told her that he was an alcoholic and he doesn’t remember finding the card. So we can’t be certain how he came across the card: if he found it, if Emma gave it to him, or if he stole it.
When Emma bought the cellphone at the 7-11, she was wearing green, black, white and grey camouflage pants and a grey hooded jacket. She carried a bright orange purse. If Emma died, at her own hand or accidentally, you’d think at least the orange purse would turn up somewhere. But apart from the credit card, nothing has emerged.
Willing to try anything, Shelley has accepted offers from mediums, dowsers, psychics and voyantes who claim they can use their spiritual powers to discover Emma’s whereabouts and physical state. They all believe that Emma alive, though Shelley admits that this is “better for business” if they want her to book another session.
Livid, Shelley believes that they could easily have obtained more answers had police sent out cars immediately after Emma was reported missing. Weeks later, divers thoroughly searched the Victoria harbour in attempts to uncover a body, or any sort of evidence. Their efforts brought us no closer to finding Emma. Typically, people who commit suicide are found rather close to where they were last seen, especially when they are on foot. Drowning is a common method for women. Even with the lag time of a couple of weeks, the search and rescue expert on the Fifth Estate claims that had Emma ended up in the water, divers should have come across her body. And if not the divers, then the public. The sheer lack of significant evidence is highly unusual and perplexing.
That said, Victoria is home to extensive forest. Emma always loved nature. Shoeless in November, she didn’t seem to have her own safety at heart. Given the possibility that she could have wandered off the road, and off the trail, the possibilities of her whereabouts are overwhelming, or as Shelley puts it “sickening."
End of Part Six.
-Written by Erica J. Schmidt.
Where is Emma Fillipoff
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