Mackenzie Lee Trottier’s presents from last Christmas remain unopened.
They were placed under the tree along with the rest of her family’s gifts in their Saskatoon home. Four days before the holiday, exactly one year ago, the 22-year-old disappeared.
“Her presents eventually, after a month or two, got packed up and put into the closet and are waiting for her,” her father Paul Trottier said in a telephone interview.
Family members hope for a Christmas miracle that she’ll return this year.
“Mackenzie was a huge fan of Christmas. She usually made stuff by hand for family. So that is going to be a challenge again this year,” her father said.
The tree is not up at the Trottier home and neither are stockings or lights. Milestones have been particularly difficult for family and friends who have been searching for the woman over the last year.
They describe her as an old soul, caring, with a passion for saving animals.
“It’s like missing a piece of your body,” Trottier said. “So you hobble around in some regards, and do the best you can, but you’re still missing that piece of your family, that piece of you.”
The family has set up poster campaigns in cities from Manitoba to British Columbia.
Relatives follow up on tips and communicate with the RCMP and other police agencies. They have put up a $20,000 reward for information leading to the young woman’s whereabouts.
“Over time your energy level starts to drop, and you get to a point where you’re not sure where to turn or what to do,” her father said.
In June, Saskatoon Crime Stoppers released a drawing of a man believed to have information about Trottier’s daughter. Police in the city had earlier released still images of the man from video surveillance.
“We get all kinds of tips that may come in through city police and it gives us a little bit of hope. And when things don’t pan out, or it’s not Mackenzie, it’s disheartening. It’s a roller-coaster up and down.”
The major crime unit is continuing to investigate her disappearance. Posters in Calgary have led to a resurgence of tips.
A Saskatoon police spokesperson says officers are working with Calgary police to follow up; however, reports of possible sightings have not yet been substantiated by police in either province.
Investigators haven’t speculated on the cause of her disappearance.
“There’s basically three options and they’re difficult, " said her father. “One is she’s no longer with us — but we don’t go there.”
The second possibility is she just hasn’t return home. But, Trottier said, his daughter thought of home as “her landing place, her safe space.”
“The third is that somebody took her.”
That’s why the family has placed missing posters in cities believed to be on the route of human trafficking rings.
“I focus on Mackenzie because she’s my daughter. But there’s many missing women in this province and I want people to start paying attention to what is going on,” said Trottier.
Police describe Mackenzie Lee Trottier as five-feet tall, weighing 145 pounds, and with blond, medium-length shaved on the right side. She has green eyes, a fair complexion, broken front teeth and a tattoo on her right ankle. She usually wears heavy makeup, black yoga pants, a heavy green jacket and carries a large purse.
“Come home,” her dad said. “We’re waiting for you.”
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