She’s survived 10 of her daughter’s uncelebrated birthdays.
A decade of Christmases and Thanksgivings have passed. Some of her kids have had babies of their own.
The years that have flown by make it easier for Glendene Grant to speak now about the piece of her life that’s missing. It’s one terrible aspect of an otherwise wonderful life, she said.
“It has not been 10 horrible, horrifying, awful years. It was one horrible, horrifying, awful thing that happened 10 years ago,” she said.
Grant, a mother of four in Kamloops, British Columbia, has been searching for her missing daughter, Jessica Foster, since March 29, 2006.
Foster, a sweet girl who grew out of her tomboy phase to become a vivacious woman, moved to the Las Vegas Valley in May 2005, two weeks before she turned 21 years old, Grant said.
The North Las Vegas woman, her family later learned, was working as a prostitute.
Foster loved her family, and she kept in touch, calling often and even visiting that Christmas, her mother said. On March 28, 2006, she had a joking, laughter-filled phone conversation with her big sister, Crystal Foster.
The next day, Jessica stopped answering the phone.
“It’s been 10 years. This is ridiculous. I thought they were going to find her right away, dead or alive,” Crystal said.
Jessica, who would now be 31, was reportedly last seen by her live-in boyfriend Peter Todd on April 2, 2006, according to North Las Vegas Police Officer Aaron Patty.
Grant submitted a missing person’s report April 9. A sergeant visited Todd’s house that day, Patty said.
Todd allowed police inside for a search, but they didn’t find Jessica or her clothes. Todd told police she moved out.
Further details on the investigation weren’t immediately available.
Rumors circulated online that Todd was Foster’s pimp and that he abused her. Some accused him and James Todd, his brother who lived with the pair, of knowing what happened to her.
“At this time, everyone is considered a person of interest, and that includes Peter Todd,” Patty said recently.
Todd declined to comment on Jessica’s disappearance but said he feels his side of the story has been distorted.
He added that he was neither the first nor the last person Jessica met in Las Vegas.
“I am the only person that everybody knows, and I’m the only person everybody can contact,” he said.
James Todd said he wants his name out of the discussion and is awaiting the day Jessica is found.
“It bothers me that my life is somehow intertwined with their lives,” he said.
He added that he never interacted with Jessica and that the idea of his brother as a pimp or an abuser “is nonsense.”
“That’s insulting to me. That’s insulting to my family,” he said.
Last year, national media speculated that Jessica’s disappearance and the deaths of three sex workers from the Las Vegas Valley in the early- to mid-2000s may have been connected to Neal Falls, an Oregon man killed in Charleston, West Virginia, in July.
Police say Falls, who lived in the Henderson area in the 2000s, was killed by an escort when he tried to choke her. Law enforcement in Virginia have since described him as a possible serial killer.
North Las Vegas police have looked into whether Falls was involved in Jessica’s case.
“After investigating, that angle is not the focus of our investigation,” Patty said.
Grant said she has never really believed her daughter was the victim of a serial killer.
She said she thinks Jessica is a sex trafficking victim, and she refers to her daughter in the present tense, keeping hope that she’s still alive.
In the 10 years since her daughter’s disappearance, Grant has become an outspoken supporter of anti-trafficking laws and formed the advocacy group Mothers Against Trafficking Humans.
She was critical of the police department’s initial investigation into Jessica’s death, saying at least one North Las Vegas detective involved didn’t believe that Jessica was forced into prostitution.
“For years, I always called myself the head detective,” she said.
Grant said she believes her daughter was beaten and forced into sex work. She knows her advocacy work in Canada may not help Jessica, but she wants it to make a difference in the lives of others.
“It helps me,” she said. “It allows me to cope with having a daughter missing, not just that first, second and third year, but now for 10 years.”
Contact Pashtana Usufzy at email@example.com or 702-380-4563. Find her on Twitter: @Pashtana_U