Mistie Nicole Murray was born on the 28th of October 1978 in Nova Scotia, Canada. At the age of 2, Mistie was placed into therapeutic foster care. She was in foster care for around a year, until she was adopted by Steve and Anne Murray, who lived in Goderich, Ontario.
As Mistie entered her adolescent years, it became apparent that she had learning disabilities and behavioural problems.
In 1994, Mistie reconnected with her birth mother. Mistie and her birth mother met in October 1994.
On the weekend of April 2nd, 1995, Mistie was planning to go to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to meet her birth mother’s parents for the first time. She was so excited about the trip that she packed her suitcase a week early.
Wednesday, 31st May 1995, just two days before she was expecting to travel to Halifax, Mistie attended school. Steve, her adoptive father, dropped her off at school that morning. During the school day, she paid a visit to the school nurse. It has never been made public what that visit was about, or why she visited the nurse. At 3pm, she called Anne’s work, but Anne could not take the call and Mistie did not leave a message. This is the last time Mistie is known to try and make contact with her parents.
Anne and Steve did not see Mistie during the night of 31st May. The next day, Steve took a business trip to Toronto, and he arrived home at 8:30pm that night. It was then that Steve and Anne realised that Mistie was missing. They frantically started to search for Mistie and contacted the Goderich police, who in turn contacted the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).
After a few days of searching for Mistie with no luck, the lead investigator with the OPP started to think that Mistie had been murdered. He viewed Steve, Mistie’s adopted father, as the main suspect in the murder. Steve did not tell the police that on the evening Mistie went missing, May 31st, he took his boat out on Lake Huron for around 30mins. Steve took his boat to a marina, to have his boat washed and waxed.
The police also found witnesses who thought that they saw Mistie on the docks on the day she went missing. The lead investigator thought that Steve took Mistie out on the lake with him that night, killed her, and then dumped the body in the lake. He thought that Steve had been having a sexual relationship with Mistie and that she could have been about to tell someone. Steve denies having any involvement in Mistie’s disappearance and claims that he completely forgot that he took the boat out.
4 months after Mistie’s disappearance, Steve was charged with her murder. It was only the lead investigator and a few other police officers who believed this story. Neighbours and people who knew Mistie and her family said that they were always happy, and Mistie loved them and never had any problems with her adoptive family. There was also no evidence to back up this claim, and there were other suspects at the time.
A few weeks before Mistie disappeared, she told her guidance counsellor that she was feeling threatened by her ex-boyfriend, Jeremy Cook. Jeremy claimed the last time he saw Mistie was May 30th, because that is when he cashed his welfare cheque and paid his rent. However, bank records show that he actually cashed his cheque on May 31st, the day she went missing.
Despite there being no evidence, the police focused on Steve. The lake where they thought he had dumped Mistie’s body was emptied and searched with sonar, but no body was ever found.
Aside from this, there are several compelling eyewitness accounts of Mistie after May 31st. Aside from the fair employees, every classmate knew Mistie personally and recognised her distinctive green jacket with the words “Seaforth Girls Trumpet Band” and “Mistie” embraided on it. On June 1st, Mistie was seen at a bargain store in Goderich by one of her classmates and they had a conversation. On June 2nd, 3 of her classmates said drove past Mistie as she was walking towards Clinton, a town about 12 miles from Goderich. The classmates remember that day because they went to the fair in Clinton. On the evening of June 2nd, another classmate of Mistie said that they saw her in Clinton.
Someone who played in the school band with Mistie said that they saw her on June 3rd, at the fair in Clinton, with a group of people unknown to them. The person remembered thinking it was odd that she was at the fair because Mistie was supposed to be in Halifax that weekend. Two fair employees also remember seeing someone who matched Mistie’s description, but the police never followed up on these sightings and claimed they were all cases of mistaken identity.
After she was reported missing, some of Mistie’s classmates swear that they saw her in London, Ontario which is about 60miles away from Goderich. 6 different people saw a girl matching Mistie’s description in London. Some people saw her at a rougher end of the city, where there were shelters for street kids. A few people said it seemed like she was strung out on drugs, and she may have been working as a sex worker. After that, there were sightings of Mistie in Toronto, around 2 hours away from London. Some police officers did go to London to search for Mistie, but they found no evidence that Mistie was ever there.
Despite there being no evidence, and even with all the sightings of Mistie, Steve went to trial for Mistie’s murder in May 1997. At the trial, an officer admitted that there had been 93 sightings of Mistie since she had been reported missing. Steve’s trial lasted for 13 days, and the jury deliberated for just 45mins before delivering a verdict of not guilty. The cost of the prosecution ruined Steve financially, he had to sell his pub and boat just to pay for his defence. His boat was sold for less than half the price Steve brought it for, due to it being in parts due to the police search.
Anne never thought that Steve was involved in Mistie’s disappearance, but they still got divorced after Mistie went missing. A year after the trial, the lead investigator still claimed that Steve killed Mistie and he had spent a year looking for the best sonar equipment to search the lake with. More searches of the lake were conducted, at the taxpayer’s expense, but no trace of Mistie was ever found.
In May 1998, a year after the trial, Anne filed a complaint against the lead investigator of the case. An officer from the OPP got in touch with Anne and told her that if she dropped the complaint, he would give her the last letter that Mistie ever wrote to her and Steve. Anne knew about the letter as it was read aloud in court. In the letter, Mistie says she is sorry for being a troublesome daughter and asks for forgiveness. She ends the letter by saying she will always be their daughter.
An investigation into the case was opened, and they found that the officers had made errors but they did not commit misconduct. An independent audit then began on the case, and it is said that Anne’s complaint raised several issues within the OPP and that they want to examine them closer.
Anne continued to follow up on sightings until 2001 when she then stopped and focused on raising her 2 sons. Steve moved away and began a new job as a truck driver. On the back of Steve’s trailer, he had Mistie’s missing poster.
Sadly, Steve passed away in 2018 due to a workplace accident.
The police did not think that Mistie had run away because of how excited she was to go to Halifax. Mistie also left behind a suitcase full of clothes, and $200, so if she was going to run away – why did she not take the money and clothes? However, they also had no evidence or even motive to accuse Steve of murdering Mistie. So, why did they spend so much time accusing him?
Many people think that Mistie got lost in the world of drugs and prostitution, including her adoptive mother Anne. Some people even believe that she has died as a result of her new lifestyle. Others think that she could have succumbed to a worse fate, of human or sex trafficking. And there are some that believe Mistie is still alive, just using a different name.
At the time of this article, Mistie would be 43 years old.
If you have any information in relation to the case of Mistie Murray, please contact the Ontario Provincial Police: at 1-888-310-1122 or Huron Detachment: at 519-524-8314.
True Crime, Missing, Missing Person, Missing Teenager, Mystery, Strange, Disappearance, Unsolved, Unsolved Case, Mistie Murray, Canada, Ontario