By Jennifer Bowman
A tip that a Facebook profile may be her sister who has been missing for 30 years has given Angie Folkes hope, something she hasn’t felt for a long time.
“Tips have been coming in but she hasn’t been found,” Folkes said. “We’d like to know if she is dead or alive. Every time they find a female body…. Bones. That really terrifies me. Or women that have come out of a basement after years and years.”
The most recent tip came through an email to the Oakville Beaver after the paper ran a front page story on the disappearance of Darlene Tucker (Folkes’ sister) and a friend Jinisina ‘Jan’ Stonehouse. According to the Beaver, Angela Ellis, webmaster for the North American Missing Persons Network, sent the paper two Facebook profiles she believes could be Tucker and Stonehouse, now both with different surnames and living outside of Ontario.
It led Folkes, now living in Orillia and working in Bracebridge, to search on her own, looking through photos of women with her sister’s name, trying to find one that might resemble what her sister could look like now.
“I spent the entire weekend searching her name on Facebook. And waiting,” she said. “The waiting was the hardest.”
Tucker left her Oakville home in 1983 at the age of 16, a couple weeks after giving birth to a baby she gave up for adoption. She left at the same time as Stonehouse.
“We’re hoping if she’s holding a grudge to get over it,” Folkes said. “Or if she thinks time has gone too far for return that she’s misguided.”
Folkes, a year older than Tucker and three years older than their brother, said she was never close to her sister.
“She was probably a little mad at me when she left,” she said.
She hopes other teens can learn from the situation.
“If she would’ve stuck around long enough she would’ve seen it was sibling rivalry, it was jealousy,” she said. “It’s never as bad as you think it is. You need to face up to it, to solve any conflicts.”
The family doesn’t talk about it much now.
“It’s easier not to,” she said.
Her sister is still always on her mind though, she said, impacting her every day. There have been numerous attempts to find Tucker; a documentary was done on Child Find about 25 years ago, and she has been on envelopes for utility bills and on the back of transport trailers.
Folkes’ mother moved to Muskoka in hope of finding Tucker after the two missing girls were reported seen in Huntsville in 1987.
“She spent three weeks running the streets of Bracebridge and Huntsville,” she said.
Her now 67-year-old mother finally moved to Bolton about five years ago.
She has had so much false hope in the past her mother is skeptical about the latest tip, Folkes said.
The last story she remembers written on her sister’s disappearance was 10 to 15 years ago. While she said this one is the most difficult because the Internet has taken it much farther than her hometown where it happened, she also expressed her appreciation for the story because it has raised more awareness and hope.
“Thirty years is a long time to be missing,” she said. “I’m hoping that she reads this and I’m hoping that she makes that phone call. It’s time to put an end to the worry.”