Two sisters missing for decades have been located alive and living in the United States.
The last time family members had seen Anna and Kym Hakze was in Edmonton in the mid-1980s. Their mother reported them missing in 2003 as she hadn’t seen or heard from her daughters in more than a decade.
At the time, eldest sister Anna was estranged from her family and struggling financially. The sisters, originally from Lethbridge, were said to be inseparable and the pair disappeared together. Anna was 43 and Kym was 29 at the time. They haven’t had any contact with relatives since.
After a lengthy investigation that has spanned decades and multiple detectives, the Lethbridge Police Service closed the book on the historic case on Thursday.
The sisters were found living with new identities and not too far away from each other. Today, Anna is 67 and Kym is 53. One of the sisters had been working as an author.
“Without going into a lot of details and to protect their privacy, they had just left due to some family turmoil, and had moved on and were living their own life as a result of that,” said LPS Staff Sgt. Scott Woods, who oversees the Criminal Investigation Section.
The sisters had been using a few different aliases, which complicated the investigation.
“But in the end it actually linked a few things back to help us, quite frankly.”
OHV use not changing yet
Off-highway vehicle users in the Castle won’t see any changes to the current state-of-trail access for the next year.
The focus rather, says Environment Minister Shannon Phillips, will be on closing illegal trails and creating proper signage. Also, public consultation on the Castle parks draft management plan will be extended for an extra month, now until April 19.
Phillips made the announcements during a media teleconference call Wednesday afternoon.
She said during the next four years, more than $20 million will be used to “improve tourism opportunities and foster responsible use of this ecologically sensitive area.”
Phillips says the work is part of a broader investment in infrastructure in the Castle parks, including access routes, camping, signage, picnic areas, hiking trails and fisheries access.
Robber gets seven years
A 29-year old B.C. man who robbed a Lethbridge bank and several others in Alberta, B.C. and Saskatchewan, has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
Shaun Christopher Cornish was sentenced Tuesday in British Columbia Supreme Court in Kamloops, B.C., where he was given three years credit for time spent behind bars since his arrest in January 2015, leaving him four years to serve on his sentence.
Cornish robbed his first bank in Princeton, B.C., in December 2014, which was followed by robberies in the Alberta communities of Lethbridge, Claresholm and High River. He also robbed financial institutions in Swift Current, Sask., and in the B.C. communities of Vernon, Merritt and Aldergrove.
Cornish was finally arrested at a motel in Grande Prairie shortly after he held up a Dawson Creek bank on Jan. 28, 2015.
The robbery at the Lethbridge bank occurred Jan. 13, 2015, when Cornish entered the business, approached a teller and, while brandishing a firearm, demanded money. No one was hurt during the incident.
In the Claresholm robbery three days later, he entered a bank, showed he had a black pistol and demanded money from the teller before fleeing.
Superintendent Kevin Gietz has been fired from Palliser Regional Schools effective immediately, though the reasons for the firing are not being made public.
A special in-camera meeting was held by the Palliser Board of Trustees last week, before moving into regular council, in order to pass a motion on the decision.
According to a prepared statement, the board passed a motion “… concluding the employment of Superintendent Kevin Gietz, effective immediately without notice or payment in lieu of notice.”
Board chair Robert Strauss said he was unable to comment on the issue as it was a personnel matter, and said the Board of Trustees is tasked with making these decisions.
He also would not speak to any of the complaints against Gietz, as well as general issues against Palliser, which may or may not have played a role in his firing.
Asphalt plant opposed
A rezoning application that could pave the way for a portable asphalt plant northwest of Coalhurst is being opposed by residents living in the area.
More than 30 people packed into Lethbridge County council chambers Thursday for a public hearing, which is part of an application to amend the Land Use Bylaw for LSD 10-25-9-23-W4 in order to rezone it from Rural Agricultural to Rural Heavy Industrial.
The rezoning would be one step in the application process for Tollestrup Construction, and would require further approvals under the Code of Practice for Asphalt Paving Plants, the Water Act and Code of Practice for Pits.
The portable asphalt plant would be added to an on-site gravel extraction operation approved for the area. Gravel extraction is an allowed use under Rural Agricultural zoning rules. Concerns among landowners in the area included a slippery slope argument that rezoning the land would open the coulee to further heavy industrial development down the road.