The RCMP Historical Case Unit's investigation into the disappearance of Courtney Struble hasn't progressed as quickly as the RCMP had hoped, according to Corporal Robert Zentner, but there has been progress with the case.
July 9 marked the eight-year anniversary of Struble's disappearance. The Historical Case Unit, who took over investigation from the Estevan Police Service last year, continues to treat Struble's disappearance as a homicide.
“Over the past year, we have probably interviewed 40 people or so in relation to her disappearance,” said Zentner. “With each one of those interviews, obviously we learn some new information, or potentially identify a few additional people to be spoken with.”
The people that they have wanted to speak with were part of Courtney's life at the time she vanished. Some of them have left the Estevan area, and even Saskatchewan, for employment reasons, since Courtney's disappearance, so Historical Case Unit members have travelled outside of the province to conduct interviews.
They have also met with people who didn't know Courtney, but might have had information on her disappearance.
“With each interview, we learn more about what was happening in her life at that time, and each interview gets us one step closer to where she is,” said Zentner.
There are people that the RCMP is investigating, but Zentner wouldn't call them suspects.
“There are definitely people out there that know more information than they're sharing with the police, and that could be for a wide variety of reasons, not always necessarily because they're involved,” said Zentner. “Maybe there are mixed loyalties, or maybe they're fearful of something.”
Zentner said they have had a pretty heavy presence in the Estevan area for the last month, as they have conducted at least 12 interviews. He anticipates that they will be back in the city soon.
The ultimate goal for the Historical Case Unit remains getting her home to her family so that the family can have closure. They also want to learn the circumstances associated with her disappearance.
“With each passing day, we get a little bit closer to our goal, but obviously we haven't reached it yet,” said Zentner. “Unfortunately, we can't give you a timeframe when we will. Some of our investigations take many years, others wrap up fairly quickly.”Struble was last seen on July 9, 2004, near the intersection of Highway 39 and Sister Roddy Road, on the outskirts of Estevan.
At the time of her disappearance, she was 13 years old. She was five-foot-three and weighed 130 pounds, with a medium build and an olive complexion.
She was wearing a grey hoodie, blue jeans and runners when she went missing.