Last month was Brianne Wolgram’s 40th birthday.
On March 25, every year, her mother burns a candle to commemorate her birthday.
“It’s to light the way home,” said Sheryl Wolgram, mom.
Almost 21 years ago, Brianne seemingly vanished without a trace from her hometown of Revelstoke, B.C.
“It’s almost like an alien came down and took her away,” said Sheryl. The background on her IPhone is a photo of her daughter at Grade 12 prom. It’s her favourite picture of Brianne.
|Before she went missing, Brianne’s brother bought Brianne a lantern for Christmas. On the anniversary of her disappearance, Sheryl lights the lantern and puts it on the porch. Friends and family around the world follow suit. This is a photo of a friend of Brianne lighting a lantern last Sept. in Greece. (Facebook)|
According to reports, Brianne was last seen on Sept. 5, 1998, around 11:30 p.m at the Revelstoke 7-11. She was in the company of three other young unidentified women. Brianne was supposed to meet up with a friend that night, but never arrived.
Five days later, Brianne’s newly purchased black Acura Integra with gold-coloured rims was found in the ditch 16 kilometres up a logging road towards Alkolkolex Falls. Her wallet, drivers license and $200 in cash were still in the car.
Hundreds of people searched the woods, boats scanned the shores of rivers and planes and helicopters provided air support. There was even a $20,000 reward for information that would lead to Brianne, but no one stepped forward.
Months turned to years and as one friend of Brianne’s later wrote in a summary of the case there’s “still no word on what happened to the little blonde girl with the big smile.”
This month, the RCMP said there has been little movement on the case. Tips do occasionally trickle in, but there’s no major breaks.
“There’s a lot of rumours,” said Cst. Claudia Wytrwal, General Investigation Services in Kelowna. The RCMP did a big push in 2013 and spent almost two months in Revelstoke trying to move the case forward. Wytrwal said they have never ruled out foul play.
“I am very invested in this case. I want to find her and give closure to the family,” said Wytrwal. She calls Sheryl every six months to see how the family is doing and provide updates.
Sheryl said in many ways, it’s like her daughter disappeared yesterday. She has good days and bad days.
“It’s like a radio dial in my head. Sometimes I need to change the channel.”
|The Angel of Hope statue at Woodenhead Park is to commemorate Brianne Wolgram. Before it was put behind bars, vandals broke off the angel’s wings and caused other damages three separate times. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)|
Sheryl finds going to funerals particularly challenging, because at funerals there’s closure. She doesn’t have that.
Anna Swayze, friend of Brianne’s, started a GoFundMe this month to collect money to offer a reward for information that will lead to Brianne’s whereabouts. As of April 12, the fund has raised $1,795. Swayze aims to raise $20,000.
“I worry people will forget. We need to keep attention on this,” said Swayze.
Hopefully the offer of money will spur someone to step forward continued Swayze. If the fund cannot be used for Brianne’s, Swayze said it will be another missing child or be given to the Missing Children Society of Canada.
Swayze wants the RCMP to release photos taken on scene of Brianne’s car when it was found.
“It should get people talking about it again, regardless if it’s for good or bad” Swayze said.
Anyone with information about the circumstances surrounding Wolgram’s disappearance is asked to contact the RCMP or Missing Children Society of Canada at 1-800-661-6160.