The mother of Amber Alyssa Tuccaro is continuing to fight for justice, nearly 13 years after her daughter’s disappearance.
The murder victim’s family held a news conference at the Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta office in Edmonton on Thursday in hopes of drawing attention to the unsolved crime.
“Please come forward if you know something about Amber’s killer, what happened to Amber that day, please come forward. I beg you,” said Vivian “Tootsie” Tuccaro.
Tuccaro, 20, was a mother to one son, Jacob, from Mikisew Cree First Nation.
She was last seen on Aug. 18, 2010, in Nisku, Alta., after getting into an unknown man’s vehicle.
She was staying in the area for a few days after arriving from Fort McMurray with her infant son and a female friend.
On Sept. 1, 2012, horseback riders found her remains in the same area.
In 2012, police released a cellphone recording between Tuccaro and the man who gave her a ride.
RCMP investigators believe that rather than driving Tuccaro north into the city, the man actually drove southeast along the rural roads of Leduc County.
“You’d better not be taking me anywhere I don’t want to go,” Tuccaro can be heard telling the man.
The man insists he’s driving north, to “50th St.,” and while Tuccaro repeats what he’s telling her to the person on the other end of the phone, the call ends abruptly.
Grand Chief of Treaty 8 Arthur Noskey spoke at the news conference Thursday, calling for police to do more to speed up justice in the case, and for the driver himself to come forward.
“It’s been 13 years and I pray to God that at some point they’ll be closer,” Noskey said. “Whoever that voice was, to get convicted, to be able to say yes, it was me, that would be a start [to] the process of healing and bringing closure to this tragedy.”
RCMP assistant commissioner Trevor Daroux responded to criticism at the news conference, saying the organization is “committed to move forward with this investigation.
“And I would say this too: There is one person out there responsible for this and I can tell you that we are not stopping. We will do what it takes to bring that person to justice.”
Daroux echoed the family’s appeal to the public for information, saying somebody out there knows something that could put the case to rest.
In March 2014, Amber’s mother, Vivian Tuccaro, filed a complaint against the Leduc RCMP saying they downplayed her disappearance, including taking her off the missing persons list after one month, despite no one seeing her.
“Amber’s case was mishandled right from the very, very start, right from the time I called,” she said.
In 2017, the Tuccaro family increased the reward for information to $5,000 and started a Justice for Amber campaign on social media.
Early investigation was deficient, independent review found
An independent federal review released in 2018 found that the Leduc detachment’s investigation of her disappearance was deficient.
Amber’s brother, Paul Tuccaro, testified for two hours to its lackadaisical nature at the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls during its Edmonton hearings.
In July 2019, RCMP issued an apology to Tuccaro’s family for mishandling the early investigation into her disappearance. Her family rejected the apology.