On May 28, 2022 it will be 11 long years since Madison Scott went missing from Hogsback Lake near Vanderhoof, but her family and friends haven’t given up hope.
“In my heart I believe she is still alive,” said her mom Dawn Scott. “I have a recurring image that she is still with us.”
Following a two-year hiatus due to pandemic restrictions, the annual On the Trail to Find Maddy Poker Ride will be held in person this year on May 28. The purpose of the event is to build awareness about Madison’s disappearance. Participants can walk, ATV or horseback.
“We are not stopping our search until she comes home,” said Madison’s long time friend Theresa Philips, who was not with Madison the night she went missing.
Madison was just 20 years old when she disappeared from a bush party at a Forest Service Campsite. Today she would be 31.
Her mom said the family is in touch with the North District RCMP’s Major Crime unit on a regular basis, and tips are still coming in.
“We appreciate people coming in with tips. However, without wanting to sound ungrateful, we would like people to know that when they have a tip, they should call the RCMP directly as it gets complicated when they call us first and want us to forward that information to the police. This third party information makes the RCMP’s job difficult,” Dawn said.
Philips said it’s “really frustrating” that some people believe that the RCMP is not on their side, that the RCMP are not really looking for her, or that they are not to be trusted.
“When someone contacts Dawn and Eldon at home, and they say they have information, and we tell them to go to the cops — they don’t want to go to the cops because they don’t trust them. They say they don’t want to get involved.”
Madison’s father Eldon said he has dealt with the RCMP for almost 11 years.
“And the ones we have dealt with have been exceptional people. They have a job to do. And that’s what people forget. There is protocol. It’s not like TV.”
Even though a majority of people have been supportive of the Scotts, there are still people out there that want the missing posters of Madison Scott removed entirely from the area.
Philips said that started early on within the first five years of Madison going missing.
“They would question why we were still looking. If you were in our shoes, would you stop looking?” Dawn asked
People will also reach out to the parents directly to ask questions like — have you checked the lake or her phone records.
Philips said the lake has been checked multiple times. As for Madison’s phone records — they have been checked and double checked.
“When Major Crime was describing the investigation of the cell phone records to us, they described it as a spider web, with the centre being Madison’s phone, and then they go out. So even my cell phone records were checked, as we were at a hockey tournament two weeks prior to her going missing. Those records have been checked not just by one party, but multiple parties within the RCMP system,” Philips said.
Scott’s father Eldon said the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) came to do a review of the case as well.
“That is rare. The North District Major Crime Unit hired the OPP to do a complete review of the case. They even came and met with us.”
Philips said people who are missing are found in many cases. “So why not us, why not her? The day Maddy is found, is the day the posters come down.”
There is still a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for her disappearance. If you have any tips about Madison’s disappearance call the RCMP at 250-567-2222 or you can call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.
Timeline of Madison Scott’s disappearance
Madison’s disappearance from Hogsback Lake in Vanderhoof on May 28, 2011 is considered suspicious by the RCMP, and she has not been seen since. As per numerous reports, she went down Blackwater Road on the night of May 27, 2011 to attend a party at a Forest Service Campsite on the lake approximately 25 kms south of Vanderhoof.
There were close to 46 people at the party. Scott’s friend who was going to stay with her, left the party after midnight with a young man who lives close by in the Hogsback Lake area. Madison was last seen between 2:45 a.m. and 3 a.m.
A couple of people who were at the party came back to Hogsback the next day to clean up, and saw her tent still standing and her truck, but they did not check to see if she was in the tent. There were no other tents or campers there.
On Sunday, May 29, Dawn and Eldon Scott went to the campsite to look for her as they hadn’t heard back from their daughter which wasn’t typical of her. They found her truck and flattened tent. Her purse was in the truck but there was no sign of her or her phone.
RCMP were called and the official search and rescue effort began. The RCMP and search and rescue teams from Vanderhoof, Prince George, Burns Lake and Fort St. James directed additional volunteer searches. There were grid searches of the area starting from the campsite, with helicopters searching the area, and the lake was searched by boat and side-searching SONAR. They thoroughly covered the whole area around the campsite and lake and did not see any sign of anyone leaving the area on foot or ATV on any of the trails or through the woods.
Since the first year that Madison went missing, RCMP have continued their investigation with more interviews and polygraphs of party goers, following up on tips and other leads.
At the time of her disappearance Madison was 5 feet 4 inches tall, 160 pounds with ginger hair. Some distinguishing features include a bird silhouette tattoo on her left wrist and left nostril piercing.