The parents of a missing Canadian, who travelled to Peru in search of their daughter, Kimberlee Suzanne Kasatkin, returned without her but did come back with answers.
"We failed to find her alive and well, a lot of things transpired," said Alexander Kasatkin, Kimberlee's father.
The 41-year-old mother was last heard from on November 26, 2016, when she spoke to her sisters via video call.
Her common-law partner of eight years, Christopher Franz, has now been charged with femicide — the murder of a woman under Peruvian law.
"He is being held in detention for nine months as both prosecution and judge agreed that he would evade justice based on his behaviour during proceedings," said Roger Grafstrom, Kimberlee's brother.
Grafstrom said Franz's lawyers tried to appeal the charges but the appeal was dismissed and a trial could start as early as July.
Kasatkin's body is still missing, though the family is hopeful that "new crucial evidence" could help uncover her body, which is why they're are going back to Peru in a few weeks.
Kasatkin, originally from Abbotsford, had been living in Lima with Franz and their two children — a three-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son — for more than three years.
The two had met in Victoria, where they were studying.
Her mother, Kathleen, claims her daughter was in an abusive relationship.
"Kim wouldn't leave because he wouldn't let her take the children out of Peru and she refused to leave her children behind," she said.
The children are now being cared for by Franz's mother, but the family is advocating to bring the children to Canada so they can be with Kastakin's other two children.
Family assisted with investigation
The family said at the time of her disappearance, Franz told Peruvian police she had left the home voluntary.
But Kimberlee's mother sensed something was wrong and reported her missing to the Abbotsford Police Department.
Despite the case being outside the police department's jurisdiction, in January it put out a plea for leads.
Const.Ian MacDonald with the Abbotsford Police Department said if it weren't for the family's tireless efforts, things could have been different.
"This is a really strong family, the things and steps they have taken are remarkable," said MacDonald.
"At the end of the day, family members went down to Peru and if not for their efforts, I don't think we would have some of the answers the family is looking for," he said.
However, the search for answers was a frustrating one caused by language barriers, lack of answers and communication from the courts.
But after travelling down there themselves and watching "endless" hours of video surveillance, they're now thanking those that helped, including the expats that opened up their homes when the family needed to extend their stay, as well as the Abbotsford Police Department, Global Affairs in Ottawa, the Peruvian police for their "tireless" efforts, INTERPOL and the press in Peru.
"Without the press, the exposure would have been minimal, and we would not have the results that we did," said Alexander Kasatkin.