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Family pleads for help as Barrie Police offer $50K reward to find missing woman

'It’s been almost eight months since we last saw her and every day has been difficult, not knowing where she is,' says sister of Autumn Shaganash

Almost eight months after Autumn Shaganash was reported missing, Barrie police are offering a $50,000 reward for information which helps locate the 26-year-old woman. 

Shaganash's family reported her missing on June 12, 2023.

“Today, as the chief of the Barrie Police Service, I have been authorized by the Barrie Police Services Board to formally announce that a reward of up to $50,000 for information confirming the whereabouts of Autumn Shaganash is now being offered,” Chief Rich Johnston said at a news conference Thursday morning at the Barrie-Simcoe Emergency Services Campus on Fairview Road. 

“We are confident that someone has the information we need to reunite Autumn with her family,” the chief added.

Johnston also spoke directly to Shaganash's sister, Lili-Anne Moore, who was also in attendance.

“Lili, I can’t imagine how difficult these last eight months have been for you and your family," he said. "Know that we remain steadfast in our commitment to bring Autumn home."

Moore also provided a brief statement at the podium, breaking down partway through.

From left, Barrie police communications co-ordinator Peter Leon, Police Chief Rich Johnston and lead investigator Sgt. Brett Carleton attend a news conference on Thursday, Feb. 8 regarding the disappearance of 26-year-old Autumn Shaganash. | Kevin Lamb/BarrieToday

“It’s been almost eight months since we last saw her and every day has been difficult, not knowing where she is,” she said. “Day in and day out, the Barrie Police Service provides essential services and a continued effort in attempting to locate her.”

With tears in her eyes, Moore struggled to continue.

“In saying that, I would like to say thank you for all your hard work in assisting with my sister, Autumn,” she added. “I’m very appreciative and value your contribution. Most importantly, thank you for your generous contribution that’s going towards finding Autumn."

Moore said she hopes the $50,000 reward will help bring her sister home. 

"I am humbled by your generosity and thankful for your commitment to our cause. Your support makes a huge impact. Thank you again for all your efforts in my sister’s case and assisting me during this difficult time,” she said, before leaving the conference room.

Sgt. Brett Carleton, who is the lead investigator on the case, said officers have been using every resource available in an attempt to locate Shaganash.

“Unfortunately, at this time, we have not been able to confirm her whereabouts,” he said. “If you saw something, heard something, read something, even if you  think it’s small, I ask you and urge you to reach out and contact the Barrie Police Service or CrimeStoppers.

“Any information, whether small, might be that piece of the puzzle that will assist us in locating Autumn," the sergeant added. 

During the question-and-answer period with reporters, Carleton said they have had numerous leads.

"They’ve all been investigated to the end, but unfortunately those leads haven't been able to locate Autumn,” he said. “We do still actively receive tips, although it has slowed down. And again, that is why we are here today hoping that this money will increase the tips."

Chief Johnston said of the reason for the monetary reward is to remind the public that these kinds of investigations never stop. 

“We are committed to bringing Autumn home and to reuniting her with her family. It’s one of those investigative steps … one where we try to locate missing people, in this case, Autumn,” he added.

After seven months of mystery surrounding Shaganash's disappearance after she left a home in Barrie in June 2023, her family hired a private investigator to work independently of local police.

Shaganash, who was 26 at the time of her disappearance, was last seen leaving a home in the Allandale neighbourhood near Burton Avenue and Frank’s Way, on the night of June 9, 2023. She was last seen wearing a black hoodie, shorts and Puma sandals, and carrying a black and tan purse.

A missing person investigation was launched on June 12, when local police were notified of her disappearance.

At that time, Barrie police communications co-ordinator Peter Leon told BarrieToday one of Shaganash’s family members received a text message from her on June 10, but noted she was unreachable after that.

Leon said it appeared from investigative resources that are available to police that Shaganash had “vanished into thin air,” adding her social media activity had ceased following her disappearance.

Investigators “pinged her cellphone” — a method of determining the estimated current location of a cellphone by using GPS data or by using cell-tower triangulation — and she was last pinged in the Kozlov Street area, which is where she was last seen, in Sunnidale Park.

Sunnidale Park has been searched numerous times by police drones and canine search teams, since her disappearance, but to no avail.

Moore said in a recent interview with BarrieToday that she and her family are remaining hopeful her sister will be returned safe to them one day.

“We really miss her. She was like a second mom to my girls. She loved them very much and she would never run away from us. She was always in contact with family (and) if she went out, she would text us,” Moore said.

“This is very out of character. Something happened and someone has her. I just hope she’s found safe and alive.”

Anyone who have have information is asked to call 705-725-7025, ext. 2160.

About the Author: Kevin Lamb

Kevin Lamb picked up a camera in 2000 and by 2005 was freelancing for the Barrie Examiner newspaper until its closure in 2017. He is an award-winning photojournalist, with his work having been seen in many news outlets across Canada and internationally
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