Two sisters last seen decades ago in Alberta have been found alive, Lethbridge police announced Thursday.
Anna Hakze, 67, and her sister Kym Hakze, 53, are now living in the U.S., more than 20 years after they were last seen by their mother in Lethbridge. Police say the sisters did not know they were the subjects of a decades-old cold case in Lethbridge.
A police detective located the two women by tracking down a book written by one of them, under an alias included in an old Vancouver police report. Two police reports suggested the women might have been in Vancouver in 1999 and 2012.
Anna and Kym disappeared sometime in the mid-1980s. It’s unclear exactly how old they were at the time. Anna was estranged from her family and facing financial trouble at the time, police said. They added that the two sisters were known to have a very strong bond.
Their mother reported them missing in 2003, more than a decade after she last had contact with them in Edmonton. The mother has since died.
“They had just left due to some family turmoil and had moved on, and were living their own life,” Staff Sgt. Scott Woods of the Lethbridge Police Service said, at a news conference on Thursday. He added that they used multiple aliases after leaving Alberta and making their way to the U.S. via Vancouver.
Neither woman spoke to their relatives after they left Alberta.
Police previously looked into the possibility that the two women might have been among the victims of Robert Pickton, the convicted B.C. serial killer who killed several women and buried them on his farm. However, DNA testing on the bodies found at Pickton’s farm came up negative.
“We’re relieved to have (the case) off the books,” Woods said, adding that most cases do not end with such a positive result. “We’re certainly going to enjoy it.”
Woods says a U.S. police officer met face-to-face with one of the sisters, and can confirm that the other is alive as well.