'There's a murderer out there somewhere': Family of missing St. Anthony woman fears the worst

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Missing for a year: Family of Jennifer Hillier-Penney still can't properly grieve

Missing for a year: Family of Jennifer Hillier-Penney still can't properly grieve

Jennifer Hillier Penney has been missing for more than four months and her siblings, who are speaking out for the first time, believe something very bad happened to her.

Hillier Penney, 39, originally from St. Lunaire-Griquet on the Northern Peninsula was staying in St. Anthony, 20 kilometres away, the night she went missing.

Her family says she was spending the night at the house where she used to live on Husky Drive watching over her youngest daughter while her estranged husband went duck hunting. 

They say her daughter woke up on Dec. 1, 2016, and her mother was gone, and hasn't been seen since. 

"It's been pretty much pure hell. No one would ever dream this would happen to them. Especially here in Newfoundland. Here in Griquet, " said Gary Hillier, Jennifer's brother.

Gary and his sister Yvonne Hillier Decker sit together on the couch in their parents home, finishing each other sentences. 

Jennifer Hillier Penney's graduation picture hangs on the wall. She moved back into the childhood home when she split from her husband in September. Her brother and sister have trouble sitting still on the couch. Gary fidgets. His eyes fill with tears.

"When somebody dies or gets killed in a car accident of something like that, its tragic. But when something like this, when you got no answers, and you don't know where she is to, and you know she is not coming back, there's no closure," the siblings told CBC News.

They are constantly thinking about their sister, always looking over their shoulder for any sign of her. They believe something very bad happened to their sister. 

"There is a murderer out there somewhere," said Yvonne Hillier Decker.

Possessions left behind

The siblings believe foul play was involved in Jennifer's disappearance. Neither believes she is still alive and they certainly don't believe she left town of her own free will.

Her boots, coat, car keys, cell phone, purse and even her passport were all left at her ex-husband's house in St. Anthony.

The family say they are always on edge and can feel the tension when they are in the town.

"Everywhere you go, if you go to St. Anthony wherever you go, they are meeting up and saying 'did you hear anything, any news on Jennifer, any news on Jennifer?'" said Hillier Decker.

When Hillier Penney first went missing the RCMP considered her disappearance suspicious, but said there was no threat to the public. Her siblings do not agree.

"Not only that, people are afraid. They are scared for their lives. This happened to her and nobody has answered for it. So, if this could happen to her and no one answered for it, how is it not a risk?," asked Gary Hillier.

Suspicous, but no suspects

The RCMP will only say that the investigation into the disappearance of Jennifer Hillier Penney is ongoing. Officers are following up with tips from the public.

Months ago, local volunteer search and rescue crew scoured St. Anthony and the nearby harbour for any sign of the 39-year-old. The police are still calling the case suspicious, but there are no suspects at this time.

"Just wait for police to do their job," said Gary Hillier. "That's all we can do. Hopefully they will do it right. And I think they will … and somebody is going to answer for this." 

Jennifer Hillier Penney's face is in the window of almost every store and business in St. Anthony. The word 'missing' written in big bold letter across the top of every poster. 

For now the Hillier family is just waiting and hoping the police will come forward with answers, so they can take the posters down.