Family marks 10 years since Portage woman’s disappearance

A decade after a Portage la Prairie, Man. woman failed to show up at work without warning, her family is holding a vigil as investigators urge anyone with unreported information to come forward.

Amber McFarland was 24 when she went out with friends on Oct. 17, 2008, RCMP said in a media release Thursday. Her family learned something was wrong two days later, after being told she hadn’t come to work at a clothing retailer for the second day in a row.

“I would have loved to have seen her at 34 – where she’d be, what she’d be doing, who she would have become,” Amber’s mother, Lori McFarland told the Mounties, describing her daughter as a well-known community member who “was vibrant, charismatic, kind and helpful to so many people.”

Police said Amber McFarland was last seen at the Cat and Fiddle Nite Club in Portage and also spotted on security footage at the attached hotel with an ex-boyfriend and acquaintance. Her disappearance has long been investigated as a homicide.

On Thursday McFarland’s family will gather for a vigil in Portage la Prairie to “share the love for the person she was,” according to her mother.

RCMP said historical homicides are uniquely challenging.

“We want to be able to provide some closure to them and are asking anyone with information to come forward, said Darrell Catellier, head of the RCMP’s historical case unit. “Don’t assume we know what you know. Every piece of information is valuable. Please get in touch with us.”

Investigators can be reached at 204-984-6447, or tips can be submitted anonymously through Manitoba Crime Stoppers.