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The Disappearance of Christina Calayca

The Disappearance of Christina Calayca

 

Case File Overview

 

In August 2007, 20-year-old Christina Calayca vanished during an early morning jog while camping in Rainbow Falls Provincial Park with a cousin and two church group friends.

The park is located roughly 200 kilometres (124 miles) east of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Christina and her fellow inexperienced campers made the 14-hour trip from Toronto to enjoy their long weekend in the park.

The group arrived at around noon on Sunday, August 5th. They set up camp, prepared food, and relaxed. Then, the campers decided to take a short nap. However, they failed to set their alarm and didn’t wake up until 10:30 pm. To make up for lost time, Christina, her cousin, and friends had a bonfire, enjoyed more food, and chatted. They finally settled down to sleep at around 4:00 am.

By 6:30 am on Monday, August 6th, Christina and Eddy, one of the friends from her church group, were wide awake. They went running, but split up along the way. Eddy wanted to run along the highway, but Christina preferred the park trails.

Eddy ran for about an hour and returned to camp. Christina never made it back from her run. She was last seen wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, a purple striped shirt, black pants, and white running shoes.

Christina Calayca

"Photo

Case File Theories

 

Started a new life

Did Christina run off to start a new life? It’s highly unlikely, unless she preplanned for someone to pick her up from the isolated campground. And that person has managed to stay silent all of these years. Even more, the people closest to Christina describe her as responsible, dependable, and devoted to her family. She was planning to attend teacher’s college and was looking forward to an upcoming family trip in Panama. On the surface at least, it doesn’t appear that Christina had anything particular to run away from. And according to those who knew her best, she wasn’t the type of person who would willingly sever all contact with loved ones.

Animal attack

Did an animal attack and kill Christina while she was trail running? At first, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) thought that Christina had been killed by a bear. Dr. Stephen Herrero, a bear expert and author of Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance, explained that “there are roughly 900,000 black bears in North America and since 2000, there have been an average of only two black bear fatalities a year.” The odds appear to be against Christina dying from a bear attack. Also, if she was attacked on the trail by a bear, or even a pack of wolves, blood or scraps of clothing would likely have been found during the search. Given all of this, it’s doubtful that Christina was killed by an animal.

Misadventure

Did Christina leave the trail, get lost, and succumb to the elements? Although this is the most probable scenario, it’s extremely odd that no trace of Christina has ever been found. By the time the official search for Christina had ended, the OPP Northwest Region Emergency Response Team had used “four canine units, three helicopters, two fixed-wing aircraft and a float plane” to try to locate her. Approximately 100 police officers and specially-trained civilians searched the area for 17 days. What was at the time considered cutting-edge technology was also used in the search, including GPS mapping software, infrared cameras, and underwater side-scanning radar. Not a trace of Christina was found.

Also, the park’s trails were especially well-marked, with only one other person ever losing their way in the park: a women in her 70s who was found within 9 hours. So even though Christina had little outdoor experience, it seems as though it would have been no easy feat for her to lose her way. Mind you, volunteer searcher Matt Borutski explained that the bush along the trails in the park was so dense that “You could trip in here and not fall down. Because the bush, it would hold you up.” Perhaps, then, if Christina did panic, leave the trail, and die in the woods, her remains might not be found.

Foul play

Did Christina’s friends or cousin have something to do with her disappearance? It did take roughly seven and half hours for them to report her missing to the OPP. But during this time they did frantically search for Christina. We only really have Eddy’s word that he and Christina went running and that she was alive and well when they separated. The police repeatedly interviewed all of the people camping with Christina, paying special attention to Eddy. Nothing resulted from these interviews, though, and no one in the group has ever been named a suspect in Christina’s disappearance.

Did a killer happen upon Christina during her run in the woods? Christina’s family has described her as “very trusting,” and they worry she may have trusted the wrong person. There were many people in the area; it was a long weekend, after all, and visitors were drawn to the region to enjoy the park and events like the annual Dragfest held in nearby Terrace Bay. Maybe one of the people in the park that morning was an opportunistic killer.

After the search for her daughter was called off, Christina’s mother, Elizabeth Rutledge, raised funds for multiple private searches. Since Christina’s body has never been found, Elizabeth believes that her daughter was abducted and taken from the park. The OPP, however, insists that foul play is not suspected in Christina’s disappearance.

What do you think happened to Christina?

Christina’s family and loved ones deserve to know what happened to Christina. They hold out hope that one day she will be found.

The Government of the Province of Ontario is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the whereabouts of Christina. If you have any information about Christina’s disappearance, please contact the Director of the Criminal Investigation Branch, Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122 or (705) 329-6111, your nearest police authority, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Related Reading

Christina Calayca – OPP missing person file overview

“Calayca’s mother believes daughter was abducted”CTV News article

“Daughter’s disappearance haunts family”Canada.com article

“Disappearance at Rainbow Falls”Explore article

Interested in missing person cases? Check out the disappearance of Caitlin Potts and the vanishing of Bryan Braumberger.

 

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16 Comments

  1. Todd Todd

    I personally believe she probably succumbed to the elements while lost, my wife and I do a lot of hiking and it is very easy in a unfamiliar place to get lost and turned around . One particular instance, we got lost and panic kind of set in and that made it worse, we just had to sit down and take some deep breath’s and relax and get our bearings . So that is my expertise opinion LOL

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Todd. Yikes! I’m glad you and you wife found your way. I’ve done quite a bit of hiking as well, and I have zero directional sense. I really need to learn how to use a compass! I’m roughly 65% convinced that Christina got lost and succumbed to the elements. I still find it hard to believe that her body was never found and or even that she’d leave the clearly marked trail. But, as you mention, people can make some bad decisions when panic sets in.

  2. Gracie Gracie

    I was wondering why the police do not suspect foul play in the disappearance of Christina. Anyways, I also feel that Christina lost her way in the bush. Being from the city and not experienced campers, I could see her getting directionally confused and panicking. It has happened to me and is very frightening. I did as Todd and his wife did. Relax and get my bearings. I hope that Christina’s family and friends find the answers they so rightfully deserve. So sad.

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Gracie! I’m not sure why the police don’t suspect foul play at all. I do think it’s possible. It’s strange they never found her body. This opens up the possibility she was abducted. But you’re right. The odds are more in favour that she got lost. Often the answer is the easiest one. So terrible for her family either way. Here’s hoping the get some answers one day. Not knowing must be terrible.

  3. Peter Peter

    I remember hearing about this story when it happened back in 2007 and over the year thinking “whatever happened in this case? Was there ever any resolution?” Clearly not.. which is just awful.
    Read some other information about the story (Kate Barker’s piece), and not sure if I’m getting my wires crossed. I thought at some point Christina was seen running along the Trans Canada Hwy, one witness thinks he saw her to the west of the park at some rest stop/trailer park.
    Not sure what to think, possible she could have gone missing inside the park and just as likely she was picked up off the highway (if she was indeed running along the road). Hope some day there is some closure for her family

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Peter. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment! I agree with you it’s terrible this case hasn’t been resolved. As expected, it has been especially hard on Christina’s family. From what I found, it was the person Christina went running with who ran along the highway, whereas she stayed on the trails (at least according to them). I did see that a witness felt he saw her outside of the park, but I think the police quickly discounted that sighting. I’m not sure. Eye-witness accounts are terribly unreliable, but then again if she did leave the park and then something happened to her, it might help explain why Christina has never been found. Ideally, she ran off and started a new, but sadly I think this is least likely scenario.

  4. Lorie Lorie

    Every time we drive past Rainbow Falls we talk about Christina and are still praying that she is somehow still alive. I watch a lot od crime stories and wonder why the OPP didn’t check out all the people who were at the park. When you register at a provincial park you always have to give your licence plate # and name. How hard would it have been to check that out. Also there could have been someone from the area who kidnapped her and is still holding her in some backwoods bunker. I know it sounds weird but it has happened before. Not evetyone in our small town and big ones is a good person. There are lots of nut cases roaming free with no one ever suspecting them to be able to pull somsthing like this off. Perhaps she ended up near the highway and a crazy trucker picked her up. Heard of that too. Did they ever check that out. Just saying! Hope this gets someone thinking outside the boz. To the family we still remember your precious daughter and hope you will be able to get closure some way. God bless you all.

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Lorie, Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment. And thanks for your insights, especially that plate numbers are typically taken of those entering a provincial park. I sure do hope that the authorities checked that out. Like you, I hope that one day Christina’s family can get some answers. All the best ~ Christine

  5. After hearing about this case for the first time, I read several articles on this tragic event and I have always been quite puzzled as to what might have happened to Christina Calayca.

    I’ve been camping in many parks in Ontario and the USA since 1990. I know it’s possible to get lost (it happened to me once or twice, albeit an hour or so later I found my way). It’s also possible to encounter a black bear and, although very unlikely, be attacked by it. Yet considering all the meticulous and wide-ranging search conducted in the area, I think it would be simply unimaginable not to find any traces of Christina.

    For me the most likely scenario is as follows: somebody offered to give her a ride and she accepted—the Trans Canada highways runs next to the park—and then abducted her. That individual could have been from anywhere in North America, just driving on this major highway, which doesn’t have a lot of traffic. By the time the police were notified, she could have been taken hundreds of kilometers away from the park. That’s why there would be literally nothing for the police to find, no evidence of any kind, at least not at the location of her disappearance.

    By the way, 33 years ago, in July, 1985, Nicole Morin, an 8 year old girl went missing after leaving her apartment building to meet her friend in the lobby. She just vanished and despite one of the most exhaustive and intensive police investigations in Canadian history, no trace of her was ever found. And she did not disappear from a remote park, but from a busy apartment building in Toronto, in the middle of the day.

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Jack. Thank you very much for reading and sharing your insightful views on the case. I sadly agree with your theory as to what happened to Christina. She likely was abducted. It must be beyond tough for her family not to have any sense of closure. I can’t even imagine. Here’s hoping that even if she was taken far away that one day she is found and her identity is determined.

      I’ve never heard of the Nicole Morin case; I’ll be sure to check it out! How bizarre. Without reading anything about the case, I wonder if someone in the building was involved. Thanks again!

  6. jB jB

    Lots of questions. She was with a cousin and 2 church friends. Was the cousin male? Were the other 2 members male? They made a 14 hours drive up for a long weekend, meaning a total of 28 hours drive-time? Odd, no? I would be most interested in Eddy of course straight away, however – everything we have learned from the group could be a lie if the whole group was in on it. They could easily not have been out running, asleep at this time or another, etc. The OPP would be very happy to explain it away, personally I do not like it. If I were a betting man, I would say that she was murdered by someone or multiple members of the group and then disposed of in a very smart way where dogs would not turn up the body. It should have been the opposite, she should have suggested to run along the highway and he should have suggested to run in the path. Who drives 14 hours north to run along the highway?

    • Christine Christine

      Hi JB. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! That is very long drive for a long weekend. I know anything longer than 4 hours now makes me anxious. But I have to admit when I was their age I might have done it. More adventurous and less practical! And yes. It all comes down to if we believe the group or not. I’m not sure I do but so far nothing has proven otherwise. Here’s hoping the police investigated them throughly. If more than one of them was involved, I’d also be surprised they could have kept the secret. Usually the more people who know the more likely it is someone says something.

  7. JB JB

    I looked at the Park on Google Maps, the park is surrounded by roads/highway on 3 sides. I can’t believe she got lost. Killed or abducted is my belief.

  8. Monica Monica

    I can’t believe the OPP still does not suspect foul play. You would think after a vigorous search with helicopters and canine units, they would come to the conclusion that there’s been some form of apparent abduction.. any other conclusion would resort in scraps of clothing being found, etc. And I highly doubt a young Filipino girl with plans, loving family + friends, strong faith, and no romantic relationship, would want to escape a relatively care-free life. I am a Filipino-Canadian woman myself, and I know this would be something extremely abnormal for someone like myself to do (unless she comes from a broken abusive home, which I don’t believe she does), especially in a rural area that would make it difficult for a city girl to come back to civilization.

    This could be far off, but I just watched a 48 hours documentary on serial killer Israel Keyes. If you know anything about his background, prior to his suicide, he travelled extensively across US + Canada with the intention to murder. A man who often hunted and fished alone, very meticulous with every target, “The FBI’s Anchorage division also released a detailed timeline on Tuesday breaking down Keyes’ travels in the last eight years — 35 trips in all — in which he also visited Canada and Mexico. According to the travel log, Keyes was in Washington and British Columbia between April 20-25 in 2005, and also entered Canada between March 1-9 in 2007, before travelling around Washington and Alaska.”

    Now, I haven’t been able to see his entire travel log. But we know around the height of his killings in 2007, he was in Canada and could have easily travelled in August to Ontario (there are records of him expressing interest to go to Montreal as well, although never confirmed if he actually did. But this demonstrates he probably has been to Ontario), and during this same time, he is known to have owned a property by the Canadian border, “Keyes previously lived in Washington state before moving to Alaska in 2007 to start a construction business. He also owned property in upstate New York, near the Canadian border.”

    “When we got to Canada, he made a joke that said Canadians don’t count” — As mentioned, I could be completely off the grid, but Israel Keyes or not, I definitely suspect some form of similar foul play here. OPP – There is no chance she wanted to start a new life, by running away in the bush in Thunder Bay, Ontario!

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Monica. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to share your insights. I couldn’t agree more that there is little chance she ran off to start a new life. Who would do that in the wilderness? It just doesn’t make much sense…although it’s odd how often that was suggested. I’d never considered the Keyes connection, but he’s a monster and nothing would surprise me anymore. I hope the police consider it (if they haven’t already). I think there is a small chance Christina got lost and was never found, but like you I lean towards foul play: either Keyes or some kind of similar monster played a role in her disappearance. I think of this case often and hope her loved ones can get some answers soon. Thanks again!

      • Monica Monica

        Thanks for the response! You’re right.. it is very odd how often that was suggested by police.

        After a little more research on the area, this seems to be a common theme when it comes to people of visible minorities, especially First Nations, which they could have easily confused Christina for..

        “In Thunder Bay, local police recently refused to allow the RCMP to take over investigations into the deaths of three young people who were found in what locals are now calling the “river of tears.” First Nations leaders had called on the RCMP to take over, saying local police are unable or unwilling to further investigate the deaths, which they said aren’t suspicious. Thunder Bay police are under review for accusations of systemic racism.”

        “In 2015, Radio Canada uncovered 37 cases of police abuse toward Indigenous women across Quebec, including cases in which women were brought into the woods and forced to have sex with officers, or left to walk home long distances.”

        Furthermore, look up: “Canadian Police Starlight Tours” — This is all truly disturbing and sadistic. It’s very hard to believe this is the country I live in sometimes.

        https://www.vice.com/amp/en_ca/article/mb94wq/police-are-groping-and-roughing-up-indigenous-women-in-saskatchewan-report-says

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