Hue and Cry

The Disappearance of Jean Virginia Sampare
Highway of Tears

The Disappearance of Jean Virginia Sampare

Location: Gitsegukla  |  Year: 1971

Jean Virginia Sampare, who also went by Ginny, was of Gitxsan descent and was the second youngest of six children. Ginny was known as a shy and quiet child who loved to play nurse with her siblings. When she was older, she attended high school in Hazleton, B.C., and during the fishing season, she worked at the Royal Packing Company salmon canning plant in Claxton. Ginny often acted as the caretaker for her siblings, especially when their father drank too much. Her siblings remembered her as strong and responsible, she always let them know of her plans and never left unannounced.

On Thursday night, October 14, 1971, Ginny and her cousin Alvin were hanging out near an old bridge on Highway 16 that was located right outside their hometown of Gitsegukla. As the night grew colder, Alvin wanted to get a jacket so he hopped on his bicycle and told Ginny that he would be right back. His house was located nearby the bridge. On his way back he said he heard a car door slam and when he arrived back at the spot where they had parted ways, Ginny was nowhere to be seen.

Her mother reported her missing the next day and police, family, and community members searched for her in the following days but nothing was ever found. Her brother’s wife remembered seeing Ginny at her mother’s house that night, and she appeared upset before quickly leaving the house. Ginny was also dating someone who worked at the cannery at that time, and he had gone missing just days before her own disappearance. Her family strongly believes that even though she was stressed at the time, it was not in her nature to run away from home or take her own life. This case is still unsolved and Ginny has not been seen or heard from since that night.

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