A specific area of the landfill will be searched for up to 33 days to find evidence related to the missing woman, who was last seen by family on Dec. 21, 2020

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Saskatoon city police said in a news release on Friday that officers will search a specific area of the City of Saskatoon landfill related to the disappearance of Mackenzie Lee Trottier.

Trottier, then 22, was last seen by family on Dec. 21, 2020 in the 300 block of Trent Crescent in Saskatoon’s College Park East neighbourhood. She was reported missing to police on Dec. 30 that year.

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For more than three years, her father Paul has said he believes she is alive and was taken.

“We are here to continue our work looking for our daughter, because her story continues,” Paul said during a Friday news conference with police.

“I must stress that Mackenzie is still considered a missing person, and will be until we have direct information otherwise,” Deputy Chief Cam McBride told reporters.

Police said in the release that in late 2023 “a substantial amount of data was collected which identified a specific area” of the landfill may contain evidence in the investigation, adding that 33 days have been set aside for the search if needed.

“Over the course of the investigation, there were several devices that were seized and extraction of information from those devices has led us to the point where we are confident in the location that we’re searching, and confident enough that we can not leave this investigative lead undone,” McBride said.

The area is about 930 cubic metres in size and one metre deep, police said, and SPS will be assisted by dogs from RCMP E Division and Calgary Police Service. The teams will also be consulting with University of Saskatchewan forensic anthropologist Dr. Ernie Walker.

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“Ideally, on one hand we would like to find nothing, and then we’ll continue looking. On the other hand, we may find her, and then we’ll proceed down the next course of the investigation,” McBride told reporters.

He said he could not specify what data was collected because of the ongoing investigation. After consulting “several experts,” he said police decided the best time to search would be now, and information about the landfill lead was withheld in order to preserve the integrity of the location until the search could begin on May 1.

The investigation has been evolving constantly over the last 40 months, McBride added.

Trottier’s family has campaigned tirelessly since her disappearance — running poster campaigns in Saskatoon, where more than 750 posters were distributed, as well as in cities from Manitoba to British Columbia and setting up a website, which includes information and photos, and a Facebook group, FindMackenzieT.

“She is a person who cares deeply for those without a voice. She loves animals, is very bright and has always been prepared to take those under her wing who need help,” Paul told reporters on Friday.

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Since Trottier’s disappearance relatives have followed up on tips and communicated with the RCMP and other police agencies. They also put up a $20,000 reward for information leading to the young woman’s whereabouts. They also developed the “I am missing” campaign, featuring frames for social media photos. The logo in the frame is a red maple leaf with a missing puzzle piece.

“It’s like missing a piece of your body,” Mackenzie’s father, Paul Trottier, said in 2021. “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.”

In 2021, Calgary police wrote in a Facebook post that there had been possible sightings of Trottier. “We recently received information that a person matching Mackenzie’s description was spotted multiple times in downtown Calgary and are asking anyone with information about her whereabouts to contact police,” Const. Gord Fraser of the Calgary police missing persons team said at the time.

In 2022, her disappearance was also the subject of an episode of Never Seen Again — a documentary series on streaming service Paramount+ in the United States.

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Anyone with information about Trottier’s disappearance is encouraged to call the Saskatoon Police Service at 975-8300, or to remain anonymous, inform Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or at saskcrimestoppers.com.

With files from the StarPhoenix’s Bre McAdam, and Canadian Press

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