Saskatchewan

Saskatoon police turning to landfill in search for woman missing since 2020

Saskatoon police say they will search a specific part of the Saskatoon landfill as part of the investigation into the 2020 disappearance of Mackenzie Lee Trottier.

Mackenzie Lee Trottier last seen 4 days before Christmas

photo of poster
Mackenzie Lee Trottier went missing on Dec. 21, 2020. (Dan Zakreski/CBC)

Gina Trottier held a supporter's hand tightly, tears welling in her eyes, as Paul Trottier talked about their missing daughter Mackenzie.

"We miss her and we've been waiting 1,215 days to hear her voice again," Paul said during a news conference put on by the Saskatoon Police Service Friday.

Police say they will search a specific part of the Saskatoon landfill as part of the investigation into the 2020 disappearance of Mackenzie Lee Trottier.

"On one hand we would like to find nothing and then we'll continue looking," Deputy Chief Cameron McBride said. "On the other hand, we may find her and then we'll proceed down the next course of the investigation.

"I must stress that Mackenzie is still considered a missing person and will be until we have direct information otherwise."

A police officer talks at a podium.
Deputy Chief Cameron McBride says new information has led them to searching a specific section of Saskatoon's landfill. (Travis Reddaway/CBC)

McBride said police obtained a substantial amount of data in late 2023 that pointed to a specific area of the landfill, located at 42 Valley Rd., that may contain evidence in the investigation.

"Over the course of the investigation there were several devices that were seized, and extraction of information from those devices has led us to the point where we are confident in the location that we're searching," McBride said.

The search will begin May 1 and focus on a specific area that is about 930 metres square and one metre deep. 

It is expected to take as long as 33 days.

There have been several leads since the disappearance of Mackenzie, who was last seen on Dec. 21, 2020.

Three people stand listening.
Gina Trottier, left, and Paul Trottier, along with a support person, listen to police deputy chief Cameron McBride talk about the investigation into the disappearance of their daughter Mackenzie. (Travis Reddaway/CBC)

In 2021, the Calgary Police Service announced a person matching her description had been spotted several times in the city's downtown. Those leads came shortly after the family's inter-provincial poster campaign for Mackenzie in November 2021. 

"Mackenzie is our first-born — or as we call her, Mac," Paul said. "She loves animals, is very bright and has always been prepared to take those under her wing who need help."

WATCH | Police and family speak to media about searching Saskatoon landfill: 

Police and family speak to media about searching Saskatoon landfill for Mackenzie Trottier's remains

1 month ago
Duration 8:51
Saskatoon's deputy police chief, Cam McBride, joined the parents of Mackenzie Trottier, Paul and Gina, to announce the search of the city landfill in May. Police say information extracted from "devices" has led them to a specific 930 cubic metre area of the landfill to look for Mackenzie, who disappeared in December 2020.

Over the past 40 months the family has found support through the people surrounding them.

"Early on it was an all-out effort," Paul said. "But that never stopped. Our community is still there, is still supporting us."

While police received the new information months ago, McBride said they determined, after consulting with experts, that now was the best time to do the search at the landfill.

"For the sake of the integrity of the location and some preparatory work that's already been done, we wanted to ensure that we could keep this site secure and its integrity intact."

Calgary police, RCMP, Saskatoon police dogs and forensic anthropologist Ernie Walker will assist in the search.

The department has promised regular updates to the public.

a close-up shot of a photograph of a missing woman with people milling in the background
A memorial walk was held in September 2023 for Megan Gallagher, a Saskatoon woman whose body was found two years after she went missing. The faces of other missing people were shown as a reminder of others who haven't been found, including Mackenzie Trottier. (Dayne Patterson/CBC)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Scott Larson works for CBC News in Saskatoon. scott.larson@cbc.ca

With files from Liam O'Connor and Theresa Kliem