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Sister spent 38 years looking for brother

For 38 years, Judy Samson endured heartbreak, frustration and uncertainty around the disappearance of her brother.

She never stopped looking, even when she was on vacation in Hawaii and went to the police department to see if Sandy had returned to the state.

RCMP in Kamloops, B.C., broke the news to her last week that the body of 22-year-old Alexander "Sandy" Gammie had been found in Vancouver in 1975 — the same year he went missing.

Samson had reported him missing in Kamloops, but the link wasn't made until decades later when a Vancouver police officer assigned to historical files made a possible connection.

A special unit within the B.C. Coroners Office took over the case and, with Gammie's dental records, a match was made.

"I kind of hoped we'd find him alive," Samson said, adding she was shocked when RCMP informed her of the link.

She reported him missing to the RCMP in May 1975, and while there wasn't much interest from police, she was tenacious.

She later hired two private investigators, and when she and her brother went on separate vacations to Hawaii, they stopped in to the Honolulu Police Department to see if they had any interaction with Gammie.

"I even went to a psychic to see if he could help me. That didn't help me, but I was willing to try anything when he first disappeared."

Samson, now 71, said she had no idea that police departments didn't communicate with one another about missing people, and if it weren't for the coroner's Identification and Disaster Response Unit, she still may never have known what happened.

Samson's advice to other families who are missing loved ones is to never give up, no matter how frustrated they are.

Samson didn't want to say how police believe her brother died.

"I don't think it matters after 38 years."

The Canadian Press

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