Toronto police have released a re-enactment video Wednesday of the disappearance of an eight-year-old girl that happened almost three decades ago.
Nicole Morin vanished from her 21-storey apartment at 627 The West Mall in Etobicoke on July 30, 1985. Wednesday marked 29 years since she went missing.
The video details what’s believed to be the last movements of Morin.
According to police, Morin said goodbye to her mother at around 11 a.m. and then left the apartment to meet her friend to go swimming at the building’s pool.
“Tragically, Nicole was abducted on the way to the meeting, and was never seen again,” Det.-Sgt. Madelaine Tretter said at a news conference on Wednesday morning.
Police said Morin’s friend called the mother to say her friend had not arrived. Her mother operated a daycare and thought Morin was OK and that she met up with another friend. However, police were contacted later that evening.
Tretter said surveillance video was not available in the apartment building at the time.
Police worked with Crime Stoppers to release the video, and are hoping the video and social media will lead to more leads in the case.
Det. Chris Scherk with Crime Stoppers said he believes someone knows about her disappearance but are afraid to come forward.
“I’m asking everybody to take just one minute. Watch the video, make the call and help us find Nicole,” Scherk said.
“My belief is someone out there may know what happened to Nicole Morin in 1985 and for whatever reason feels like they can’t come forward.”
Tretter also said police are treating this as an abduction case, adding that “people don’t just vanish.” She believes Morin can be found alive.
“We never lost hope that we can find Nicole,” Tretter said. “It’s my hope that she is alive … we are not prepared to give up that hope.”
“It still haunts a lot of people who live there … it’s a case that impacted everybody,” Det.-Const. Kim Litster-MacLeod said.
Police also recently revealed they had received new tips in her disappearance, and Tretter said they “receive leads continually.”
When asked if someone from the building took Morin, Tretter said she doesn’t know.
“Sometimes, it is someone who knew the person and sometimes it’s a random act of opportunity. I can’t say either way,” she said.
According to police, there are conflicting reports as to when Morin disappeared. Some reports say she got off at the lobby to meet her friend, while others say otherwise.
Investigators said they don’t know whether the person who may taken Morin lived in the building, or whether it was a “random act of opportunity.”
Morin’s mother passed away in 1997 and her parents didn’t have other children.
Police said they are in constant communication with her father, Art Morin.
Tretter said investigators they have kept keep in touch with the friend Morin was supposed to meet up with, and are planning to follow up with her.
Earlier this year, police told CityNews reporter Avery Haines they have new information in the case that could help them find Morin.
“Things that we’re looking into make me believe that there is a good possibility that we could find her and figure out where she is,” Litster-MacLeod said.
Haines also spoke to Morin’s father who said he still believes his daughter is alive.
“I just remain hopeful that whatever happens, that Nicole is OK and one day we will reconnect.”
Police have cleared all family members and acquaintances of playing a role in her disappearance.
More details into Morin’s disappearance
Morin was born on April 1, 1977, and at the time of her abduction, she was four-feet tall, 51 pounds, with brown hair, brown eyes, and pierced ears. She also has a birthmark on the right side of her forehead, protruding ears and a gap between her front teeth.
When she left the apartment, Morin was wearing a peach one-piece bathing suit with coloured stripes on the front, a green headband and red canvas shoes. She was also carrying a peach-coloured blanket and a purple beach towel.
Morin’s disappearance sparked worldwide media attention, and the police investigation is considered one of the largest and most expensive ever conducted by Toronto police.
Over 15,000 hours were put into the investigation between the date of her disappearance until January the following year, as well as the creation of a 20-member Task Force in 1985. Over 900 members of the community also joined in the search.
Anyone with information on Morin is asked to contact police at (416) 808-2200, Crime Stoppers anonymously at (416) 222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).