Hue and Cry

Highway of Tears

The Murder of Aielah Saric-Auger

Location

Prince George, British Columbia

Year

2006

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**This story is part of our series examining the cases of missing and murdered women along The Highway of Tears. The Highway of Tears is an isolated 725-kilometer stretch of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert in British Columbia, Canada. This highway has been the location of many murders and disappearances beginning as early as the 1970s. Indigenous women make up the majority of these victims with almost all of their cases going unsolved and their families still searching for answers. For an in-depth look into this, and many other cases along this highway we recommend reading Jessica McDiarmid’s book Highway of Tears

In 2006, Aielah Katerina Saric-Auger was 14 years old and living in Prince George, British Columbia with her family. Aielah was the youngest of six children and was part of the Leidli T’enneh First Nations. Aielah, her siblings, and mother were a close unit, despite moving around a lot and even being separated for periods of time.

Aielah Saric-Auger (RCMP)

On Thursday, February 2—Aielah, her sister Kyla and brother Tim headed to the Pine Centre Mall to spend the day shopping and hanging out. Pine Centre Mall was located four kilometers from their house and was the largest of its kind in Prince George at that time.

Aielah and her sister ran into some friends at the mall and the group decided to go out drinking that night. Despite Aielah’s attempts to persuade her brother to come, Tim decided to skip the outing and head home, leaving his sisters in the mall parking lot as they headed off with their friends.

No one knows for sure what happened that night because at some point, Aielah and her sister were separated and went different ways. Kyla arrived home early in the morning but didn’t find her sister at home as she was expecting. The family spent the entire day waiting for Aielah to come home and tried to retrace the steps of the previous night in hopes of finding her, but were unsuccessful.

On Friday morning, Audrey Auger, Aielah’s mother went to the police to file a missing persons report. The police told her to wait 78 hours to see if Aielah would show up, and if she didn’t —then she could come back again and file a report.

The family officially filed a report four days later on February 6. During this time, the family searched the city, contacted friends and family and put up posters all over town.

On February 10, almost a week after she was last seen at the mall, a motorist driving on the outskirts of Prince George alerted police to seeing something in a ditch alongside Highway 16, near Tabor Mountain. When police went to investigate, they discovered the body of a young woman in the ditch. The body was identified as that of Aielah Auger. Her body was found approximately twenty-three kilometers east of downtown Prince George. Aielah’s body was found without any of her clothes or belongings. Police only recovered a necklace around her neck that Audrey later identified as one that she had given to her.

Police determined that Aielah had died from blunt force trauma to the head. While investigating her death police suggested that Aielah had gone to a friend’s house late that night to get a ride home. That friend’s mother was unable to drive her home though and Aeilah, not wanting to call her mother for a ride, was seen walking towards a house where drug users were known to hang out.

Police investigated dozens of people known to hang out at that house but everyone was cleared. They also collected surveillance video from surrounding areas and from the video they discovered two sightings of Aeilah at gas stations heading in the direction of her house. The video showed Aielah walking north on the 2100 block of Quince Street and passing the Save-On-Foods gas bar around 1 a.m. Audrey also had information including Aielah going to her friend’s for a sleepover the night she went to the mall and her being last seen getting into a black van. None of these leads or clues have lead to any arrests or suspects.

Since Aielah’s death, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Task Force called E-PANA was created to investigate the series of unsolved murders along this highway, including Aielah’s. The purpose of the task force was “to determine if a serial killer, or killers, is responsible for murdering young women traveling along major highways in BC” (E-PANA website). To date, however, this case still remains unsolved, as do all the cases along the highway included in E-PANA.

In the years after Aielah’s death, Audrey never gave up on her search for answers and set out each year to walk what she called “The Highway of Hope” to create awareness of Aielah’s murder and for the other women who have gone missing or been murdered along Highway 16.

Audrey Auger, mother of Aielah (Prince George Citizen)

Tragically, on March 5, 2013, Audrey was the victim of a vehicle collision on Highway 16 where she died. The “Highway of Hope” walks still continue, in honor of her as well now too.

All images and videos used for this story are not the property of The Hue and Cry and are displayed for informational purposes only. They are property of their original owners/publications. Photos are from The Montreal Gazette, The Prince George Citizen and The RCMP.

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