Tag Archives: Taken the series

Taken: Cherisse Houle

This week’s episode of Taken focused on the specialized investigation unit known as Project Devote. Officers from the Winnipeg Police and the RCMP deal specifically with cases categorized under “murdered and missing  exploited persons.” The active case of Cherisse Houle, a smart and playful youngster, who loved being active, exemplifies the class of casework this unit was established for. Officers believe any seemingly insignificant detail could prove the key to solving Cherisse’s murder and people are strongly urged to call 1 888 673-3316 to share any information about Cherisse.

Cherisse’s older sister, Jessica, was her best friend; they were inseparable. Bowling, movies and rollerskating were some of their favoured activities as young children, and as a child Cherisse was eager to meet the challenge of school. However, during grade school this all changed and her life turned to a pinball of group homes and foster care. It is Jessica’s belief that had the two sisters never been placed with CFS, Cherisse would still be alive. It was here that they were first exposed to illegal drugs and sex work.

A 17-year-old  mother of an 18-month-old boy, Cherisse was a vulnerable teen who had fallen victim to the sex trade and whose life was plagued with drug use. By all accounts, though she had been making efforts to turn her life around. Cherisse had been reaching out to family members for assistance and had made efforts to get treatment. These requests proved futile. Sadly, due to lack of space, she was turned away from several treatment facilities in the region. Days later, Cherisse vanished.

Last seen on June 26, 2009 in Winnipeg, her body was found on July 1, 2009 by a construction worker near Rosser, Manitoba, adjacent to Sturgeon Creek.

If you have any information about this case or any other active cases you are asked to contact Taken.

Taken airs a new episode Fridays at 7:30 p.m. ET on APTN.


Taken: Emily Osmond

Emily Osmond retired to her home community near Kawacatoose First Nation, Saskatchewan, after living a full life having run three different businesses and raising several children as her own.

Emily lived alone with her dogs, not wanting to be in a retirement home waiting to die. She kept track of her medication on a calendar; on September 13, 2007, Emily made her last entry on that calendar and vanished without a trace. Her family believes Emily was taken—her dogs were abandoned—she had told no one she was leaving and her purse was still in her home when the police investigated.

The family suspects there was foul play. It appeared to family members her things had been disturbed and unfamiliar tire tracks riddled her property. It was unlikely she could travel far from her home as she used a cane. To further create heartache for the family, Emily’s grand nephew, Cody Wolf, disappeared a few years later. As a result, the community and law enforcement agencies have come together.

Lloyd Goodwill, RCMP-retired, has a hard time understanding how one missing person case is somehow more important than another, as is the case with so many of the murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. The lack of that equity in the past is why we are now seeing an inquiry by the Canadian federal government. This case also raises awareness that Indigenous women and girls live with a higher risk of violence in their lives simply due to their Indigenity.

Taken is currently running a contest via Facebook. You could win a visit to the set in 2017 and be a part of the shoot. Interested participants can find details here. The name of the winner will be announced on Facebook following the airing of next week’s episode on October 14.

Taken airs a new episode Fridays at 7:30 p.m. ET on APTN.


Taken: Marie Jeanne Kreiser — A Case of Intergenerational Trauma

In this episode of Taken, host, creator and director Lisa Meeches introduces us to Marie Jeanne Kreiser, a residential school system survivor.  By all accounts, Marie Jeanne was a loving mother known for her kindness. However, Marie Jeanne also struggled with alcoholism, depression and suicide attempts. While in the custodial care of the residential school, Marie Jeanne fell prey to abuses that scarred her, making her vulnerable to dangerous relationships as an adult, like so many other RSS survivors. In addition to suffering from abuse, she also became pregnant; Marie Jeanne carried her child to term and the child was forcibly taken from her and adopted by an unknown family. No one knows the whereabouts of her child.

Family and officials are concerned about the man named Al that Marie Jeanne was last involved. Al was described as a very cold, incommunicable man, known to have a violent history, who fell victim to his own dependence on alcohol and, ironically, was killed by a drunk driver.  Marie Jeanne was last seen in September of 1987 in Westlock, AB.

After nearly 30 years from the time of her disappearance, Marie Jeanne’s remains have yet to be found. Originally, her case was listed as missing, but in 1990 the RCMP officials upgraded it to suspicious. (I did a little bit of online research and I found it interesting the web page the CBC has dedicated to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls still has Marie Kreiser listed as missing.)

Jody Stonehouse, researcher of Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, discusses some of the effects RSS survivors face as a result of their abuses. Children apprehended from their communities oftentimes suffered from depression and post traumatic stress disorder. When returning home, these same children no longer knew the language of their parents and did not know who they were, so they abandoned their home communities and returned to a large urban centre where they began to use alcohol or other substances as sedatives, particularly when they had suffered abuse.

The underlying theme of this episode of Taken focuses on the lateral violence and intergenerational trauma Indian Residential School survivors and their families face. Multiple generations across Canada were forced to attend these schools; as a result when these children grew into adults, the life partners they chose also struggled with the same issues of depression and PTSD. This results in descendants of these families living with the symptoms of their parents’ trauma as their own trauma.

Once again, this episode brings attention to the discriminatory clichés authorities sometimes use to repeatedly brush off this sexualized and racialized violence.

Taken airs Fridays at 7:30 p.m. ET on APTN.