Teenager Jesokah Adkens disappeared without a trace in 2001

Missing for 20 years

Cars and trucks rumble by the faded memorial on the side of the winding highway into the village of Sooke.

Twenty years ago, this site on the shoulder of the road was a bus stop where blonde, blue-eyed, 17-year-old Jesokah Adkens was seen for the last time.

It would have been dark and quiet at that bus stop around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2001, with nothing around and long waits between buses. And Jesokah, who looked young for her age and was known to hitchhike, was alone.

It was Saturday before her parents knew she was missing. The teenager had recently moved into her own place but remained on good terms with her parents. Clayten and Jocelan Adkens thought it was unusual when they didn’t hear from her on Thursday. On Friday, Jocelan went to the house to check on her, but she wasn’t there. On Saturday, they talked to her roommate, who said she had not seen Jesokah since Wednesday.

Police immediately suspected foul play. Jesokah had left her backpack, identification and beloved German shepherd pup Daphne at her house. Money in her bank account was untouched.

Anytime she went away in the past, she phoned to let her parents know and brought her puppy to their home.
Police started interviewing dozens of people, including the bus driver working that night who couldn’t identify her.

Searches of the wilderness from Sooke to Port Renfrew turned up nothing. The RCMP called in reinforcements, a tracking dog, a helicopter and a dive team to assist. A conservation officer was called out in case Jesokah had been killed by a cougar.

But police never found any sign of the teenager. With no answers for the family, investigators were frustrated. The scenarios were endless.

Was Jesokah picked up by a stranger and murdered? Was Jesokah picked up by someone she knew and murdered? Has someone living in Sooke for the past 20 years gotten away with murder?

Over the years, investigators pursued hundreds of leads, continuing to interview people and check other cases for possible links. But with time, the trail has grown colder. Jesokah’s murder remains unsolved, a constant source of grief for her devastated parents.

“We’re so bruised and beaten, we don’t even want to talk about it,” Clayten said as the anniversary approached. “This was just a young girl that was taken from us. Every night I deal with it. All I want to do is find my little girl.”

“It’s hard no matter what month, or day, or year,” said Jocelan. “It just brings up all the old memories and I just like to keep the good ones in there and keep it quiet. I don’t care to discuss it at all. I just know it’s not going to go anywhere. It’s been 20 years. I think the opportunity has come and gone.

“There was an opportunity and I think it was missed.”

Jesokah would be 37 now. Since her disappearance, Sooke has gone from a one-traffic-light village to a bustling town with four traffic lights.

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