Saskatchewan RCMP Historical Case Unit (HCU) Corporal Larry Kurtenbach says that the RCMP will continue to investigate the disappearance of Estevan's Courtney Struble until they find her remains, and have the perpetrator in custody.
Kurtenbach, who is one of the officers investigating the case, spoke at a press conference at the Estevan RCMP detachment on July 8 – a day before the 10-year anniversary of Courtney's disappearance. He reiterated the RCMP's belief that her case a homicide, and outlined steps that the RCMP is taking to find her.
"Investigators believe that information relating to Courtney's disappearance, including her body, is located in and around the city of Estevan," he said.
In the next three weeks, Estevan area residents can expect to see investigators conducting searches using ground penetrating radar, and an unmanned aerial drone equipped with special cameras.
"This technology wasn’t available at the time Courtney was reported missing, and investigators believe these tools will provide valuable information to assist investigators in bringing Courtney home," said Kurtenbach.
He said they'll remain in Estevan until all of their search options are exhausted.
The RCMP can also use their underwater recovery team to search bodies of water, he said.
Over the next week, fliers and posters will be delivered throughout Estevan and the surrounding community.
Investigators are asking residents in the rural areas surrounding Estevan to check their rural properties, including abandoned buildings, grassy and treed areas, and bodies of standing water, for anything out of the ordinary.
Kurtenbach couldn't disclose whether they have suspects or a person of interest in the case.
“This file will never close until we find Courtney,” said Kurtenbach. “I can promise you that.”
Courtney's mother, Joy Struble, said she is grateful that the RCMP is involved in the case. Time hasn't healed the pain from losing her daughter.
“Courtney deserves a proper burial, a proper resting place, and we deserve, as a family, to know where she is,” said Joy.
Courtney was a typical 13-year-old girl who had a strong will and her own ideas, but was also very family-oriented, Joy said. Courtney also loved the underdog.
Joy urges whoever killed Courtney to come forward and confess.
“Let's put an end to this,” said Joy. “Let not make it 11 years.”
Courtney was last seen shortly after midnight on July 9, 2004. She watched a movie with a friend and his brother at a veterinarian clinic on the west outskirts of Estevan, and then walked back to the city.
Courtney was reported missing the next day to the Estevan Police Service by her father. In late 2009, the RCMP Historical Case Unit, within the Saskatchewan RCMP Major Crimes Program, was asked by Estevan police to conduct a review of Courtney’s file.
Kurtenbach said her conduct is not consistent with a runaway. None of her personal belongings were missing, and there has been no activity with her bank account or her Saskatchewan Health Card.
Over the past 10 years, there have been extensive searches for her, and investigators from the RCMP, Estevan Police Service and the Missing Children’s Society of Canada have been working diligently to find out exactly what happened to her.
Since Courtney was reported missing, there have been hundreds of interviews conducted, and more than 50 investigators have contributed to the investigation. The last tip was received on May 21, but it proved to not be related to the case.
Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact the HCU or Crime Stoppers.