The Strange Circumstances Of Emma Fillipoff's Disappearance

Unfortunately, people go missing all of the time, with over 60,000 reported cases in Canada every year. Some of the people who disappeared are found alive and leading new lives, while others have more macabre and violent endings. Emma Fillipoff's disappearance was so strange, people took notice.

Fillipoff moved to Victoria, British Columbia, in fall of 2011, leaving behind her family in Perth, Ontario. She got a seasonal job at the restaurant Red Fish Blue Fish. She left the restaurant on October 31, 2012, but promised to be back for the next season. Fillipoff's family and friends thought she was driving her van back to Perth that November, but she never made it home.

She seemingly disappeared into thin air, with no leads or clues about what happened. Because she was acting strangely before her disappearance, there are several theories about what happened to her. But no one really knows what happened to Emma Fillipoff.

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  • She Left Behind Her Mazda Van Filled With Her Belongings

    During her time in Victoria, Fillipoff talked with her friends about possibly traveling the world. Among the many destinations were Japan with her father; Mexico by boat; roughing it alone in the woods; traveling to San Juan with a man she barely knew; and going home to family in Perth. The last plans mentioned before her disappearance were to visit Salt Spring Island or Tofino, British Columbia.

    Fillipoff purchased a red 1993 Mazda MVP Van in the summer of 2012. The staff of a storage facility recalled Fillipoff loading up the van with her belongings and talking about living in the van and using it to travel.  The van wasn't in great shape and she was looking for a cheap mechanic to fix it, as it had to be towed to destinations instead of driven.

    On November 21, 2012, she had the van towed from Sooke, British Columbia, back to Victoria. She told the driver she was looking forward to using it to go home to Perth, but when she disappeared seven days later, the van was left behind with all of her belongings, including her passport, still inside. 

  • Friends Suspected She Was Suffering From Depression And Paranoia

    Friends Suspected She Was Suffering From Depression And Paranoia
    Photo: CBC News / YouTube

    Described as dreamy, creative, private, and cryptic, Emma Fillipoff was not one to talk about herself freely, making it difficult to surmise what might have been going through her mind in the days leading up to her disappearance.

    During the winter of 2011, a friend and roommate grew concerned for Fillipoff when she spent hours obsessively making patterns with various objects. That friend also found her in the yard during the night, gleeful and seemingly high on nature. 

    The staff of the shelter Fillipoff sometimes resided in said she had been acting erratically and at least one staff member was afraid of her. They also mentioned a belief that she was exhibiting paranoia and depression symptoms.

  • Surveillance Footage Shows Fillipoff Acting As If She Was Being Followed

    November 20, 2012, surveillance footage cameras in the downtown Victoria YMCA were obtained by authorities. Fillipoff acts strangely in the video, going in and out of the building four times in less than 15 minutes.

    She also returned to the doors to look outside, pausing before making one of her exits and then reentering. She was also either carrying an iPod in her hands or fidgeting, causing experts to believe she may have thought she was being followed.

  • She Begged Her Mother To Come Get Her Before Changing Her Mind - Multiple Times

    She Begged Her Mother To Come Get Her Before Changing Her Mind - Multiple Times
    Video: YouTube

    Beginning five days before her disappearance, Fillipoff called her mother, Shelley, and begged for help to get back home to Perth, Ontario. Shelley assured Fillipoff she would come get her or assist her in coming home, only to have Fillipoff call back the next day and insist plans were canceled. 

    This happened four days in a row, with Fillipoff telling her mother "she did not know how she could face her". On the day of her daughter's disappearance, Shelley flew into Victoria without telling anyone, only to report Fillipoff missing when she never returned to the women's shelter where she was staying.

  • People Noticed She Was Distraught The Day She Disappeared

    The very detailed timeline on Help Find Emma Fillipoff has information about every person Fillipoff interacted with on the day of her disappearance.

    She was reported as interacting with the staff of Chateau Victoria at 7 am before purchasing a prepaid credit card at a 7-11 store. Julien Huard checked on Fillipoff, who stood motionless on the sidewalk and refused to speak to him.

    She was at the library at noon before telling another witness she wasn't feeling well an hour later. She was allegedly seen walking with an unidentified older man that afternoon, then twice by a different witness in two hours before returning to 7-11 for a prepaid cell phone. Then she was seen at a co-ed shelter; by a cab driver; acquaintance Denis Quay; and finally, the police.

  • Her Prepaid Credit Card Was Found And Used - But Led To No Suspect

    Her Prepaid Credit Card Was Found And Used - But Led To No Suspect
    Photo: CBC News / YouTube

    The day of her disappearance, Fillipoff purchased a $200 prepaid credit card from 7-11 at 8:23 am.  She was seen by several witnesses before disappearing after 8 pm that night, including a return trip to this store to buy a prepaid cell phone she would never use.

    On December 5, 2012, the prepaid credit card was used at a gas station located 12 kilometers from Victoria and near Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre and Galloping Goose trail. The man who used the card said he found it near the gas station before admitting he was an alcoholic and was not sure where he had actually picked up Fillipoff's lost card. 

    The man was questioned by police and was not determined to be a person of interest in the case.