Loved ones plead for help finding missing woman from St. Mary's First Nation

·3 min read
Erin Brooks, left, of St. Mary's First Nation is pictured here in 2016 with her older sister Amy Paul. (Submitted by Amy Paul - image credit)
Erin Brooks, left, of St. Mary's First Nation is pictured here in 2016 with her older sister Amy Paul. (Submitted by Amy Paul - image credit)

When Amy Paul thinks of her younger sister, Erin Brooks, she thinks of someone easygoing but outspoken about her beliefs.

"She was beautiful inside and out," Paul said in a phone interview to CBC as she recalls last seeing her sister on Christmas for a family gathering.

"She cared tremendously for her kids and her family, and she never went a day without calling and texting her mom."

It is this devotion to her family that has made the one-month disappearance of the 38-year-old-Brooks even more heart-wrenching for loved ones. Paul said it had been especially difficult explaining the situation to Brooks's two youngest children.

"They're young, they're only 10 and six, so they don't really understand what's going on, but they miss their mom and they want her home," Paul said.

"She has a huge family that loves her dearly."

Brooks was last seen in security camera footage at the Smoke Shop in the First Nation on the evening of Dec. 27.

Forty-eight hours later, her younger sister, Morgan Henderson, had filed a missing persons report with Fredericton police.

"She seemed fine on Christmas Eve," said Henderson.

"Nothing out of the norm, so when she just kind of up and vanished, it was really odd and we automatically got concerned because that's not like her."

Mrinali Anchan/CBC
Mrinali Anchan/CBC

An advocate for Indigenous women says time is of the essence as the search continues for Brooks.

Brandy Stanovich is president of the Indigenous Women's Association of the Wabanaki Territories, which is an affiliate of the Native Women's Association of Canada.

"It's concerning she's been gone so long and so many people are worried and just want her to come home," she said.

Henderson has described the past month as extremely trying for the family

"The fact that we don't know anything or where she is, or if she's OK — it just eats us alive," she said.

"We were inseparable for a long time … she's been my best friend for as long as I can remember."

Submitted by Morgan Henderson
Submitted by Morgan Henderson

Fredericton police continue to investigate, but a spokesperson said Wednesday there are no updates.

"This is still an active investigation, and we are still looking into the whereabouts of Ms. Brooks," police spokesperson Alycia Bartlett wrote in a statement.

Bartlett added that even the smallest tip is welcome as it may help point authorities in the right direction.

What has also been disturbing for Brooks's family and friends is a 2018 Facebook post, which addresses the systemic failure that is missing and murdered Indigenous women in the nation.

"It definitely tugs on the heartstrings," said Paul, who confirmed the post was by Brooks. "My sister was a strong woman. I know that she hasn't done anything to herself. That's just not how she was."

Stanovich also noted the troubling nature of the post in relation to the current situation.

"She posted that feeling … And now she is, years later, truly missing, so we have to do everything we can to find her."

Indigenous Women of the Wabanaki Territories/Facebook
Indigenous Women of the Wabanaki Territories/Facebook

Brooks is described as being between five foot two inches and five foot six inches tall and about 115 pounds.

She has brown eyes and brown hair with bangs and was last seen wearing blue jeans, a black jacket and black boots.

Anyone with any information about her whereabouts is asked to call the Fredericton police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800- 222-8477.

The family is also offering a $5,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to finding Brooks.

"Somebody knows something, I'm just hoping that they do the right thing and come forward because we need some closure," said Paul.

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