The daughter of a missing woman from the Rural Municipality of Piney says it is very difficult to try celebrating a holiday when she does not know where her mother is. Vanessa Backman made that comment just days before Mother's Day. 

According to RCMP, 70-year-old Jean Backman last made contact with a friend on October 15th. Four days later, Sprague RCMP received a request to check on her wellbeing. Officers attended and searched her property and residence but were unable to locate her. Here we are, more than half a year later, and Backman is still missing. In fact, some have said that it literally feels like she vanished into thin air. 

Vanessa says the wellness check in October was prompted by a friend who was expecting to see Jean on the day it is believed she went missing. Vanessa says after several days had passed and her mother had still not made contact with this friend, a call was made to RCMP requesting the wellness check. 


"At the same time, I was contacted by another friend, who was concerned, they had not heard from my mother in a few days," recalls Vanessa. "And after making some calls to family and friends I learned that a wellness check was in progress."

Vanessa describes her mother as someone who does not have an active social calendar, noting trips to the mailbox and grocery store are pretty much the extent of her regular outings. If Jean leaves the RM of Piney or travels to Winnipeg, Vanessa says she will typically make plans to see family or friends. 

"She really lived a very routine life," says Vanessa. "On the day that she was missing, she was expecting people to arrive at her house, she was expecting a delivery."

Vanessa says she thinks of her mother daily, noting she is probably the only family member who is intimately impacted by her disappearance. 

"We have a very close relationship," she says. "It definitely hasn't been easy. Very stressful and sad."

With Mother's Day now two days away and no recent developments in the search for Jean, Vanessa says it takes a lot of perseverance to make it through these holidays. Vanessa says perseverance is a virtue taught to her by her mother; something she considers a blessing. 

RCMP have stated that they must consider all possibilities; including the fact that maybe Jean is missing intentionally and does not want to be found. 

"I know anything is possible, but I do not believe my mother does not want to be found," says Vanessa. "There is no reason to not return home."

In fact, Vanessa says it is her opinion that the police work has been a little slow on this file. Further to that, Vanessa says the RCMP keep referring to this as a unique case. However, Vanessa says in 1992 a man went missing, less than one mile from where her mother lives today. She notes police initiated a search with dogs within hours of the man going missing, but he was never found. 

"It's kind of odd I guess to have two disappearances within less than a mile and not to find the people," says Vanessa. 

She notes this 73-year-old was suffering from dementia when he walked off the property and was never seen again. Vanessa says unlike this man, her mother does not have dementia, or any other health issues. 

Meanwhile, Vanessa is asking the public to continue keeping their eyes open for any clues that might lead to her mother's whereabouts. 

"For people in the area who go to their cabins, drive on logging roads, explore the forest and trails, or fish on nearby waters, be on the lookout for some clue, some piece of evidence that could help us find my mother," she asks.

If you have any information on her whereabouts please call Sprague RCMP at 204-437-2041, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 or submit a secure tip online at