Bonnie Joseph spent her childhood in foster homes. At times, she lived with a foster family over 100 km from her home of Fort St. James. She was a happy, kind girl, she was always laughing even into adulthood, she was always laughing.
Bonnie was also a mother, her children were her world. She would do anything for them she was a stay at home mom very loving and caring said one of her best friends. She was just a really good person.
Her children were apprehended in 2000, a diary kept by Bonnie and her husband tracked and took painstaking detail their efforts to stay connected with their kids and regain custody.
In the diary they know the dates and times of conversations with foster parents and officials, along with Bonnie’s visits to breast-feed her baby and their concerns about children’s well-being. They struggled to survive in Fort St. James far from their home but close to where their children were placed. They noted long winter walks often at night and walks that Bonnie took to feed her baby and her difficulty finding transportation to attend appointments with authorities and support workers.
Though Bonnie tried extremely hard she did not get her children back and according to her family and friends she sank deeper into addiction as a result. Often Bonnie would hitchhike to get to and from appointments in Vanderhoof or Prince George. She would leave days in advance to make sure she got there in time. Her sister Sharon Joseph said “she made every appointment no matter what.”
That’s why Bonnie’s friends and family began to worry that something was wrong as soon as she missed appointments concerning her kids.
There’s very little information about what happened after September 8, 2007, the last time Bonnie was seen heading to an appointment for one of her children. December 2007 she was reported missing. Bonnie was 32 years old.
A sister. A wife. And most importantly a mom.
Bonnie Joseph was a real person.
** In April 2021, it was announced that investments would be made to The Highway of Tears project. 14 cell towers have been added to improve connectivity. Two Sisters memorial totem poles have also been placed at each end of the Highway of Tears.
This is part of The Highway of Tears Symposium Report which made 33 recommendations in 2006, including solving the problem of cellular gaps between the handful of communities along the 725-km corridor. Future developments will include services such as bus routes.