Girl's cousin charged with '70 murder

Londoner Barry Vincent Manion, in OPP custody in Kirkland Lake, leaves the police station in...

Londoner Barry Vincent Manion, in OPP custody in Kirkland Lake, leaves the police station in handcuffs yesterday. (Rick Owen, Sun Media)

KATE DUBINSKI

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

LONDON -- She was a girl with a ready smile, a knack for math and an early passion for shopping and horses.

Katherine May Wilson, known to family as Kathy, was 12 when she volunteered to go grocery shopping for her mom one unseasonably warm October afternoon in 1970, in Kirkland Lake, a mining town in northern Ontario.

Then, with a bag filled with two bread loaves, a can of milk, three pounds of pork chops, a can of instant potatoes and a pound of wieners, the girl relatives said was always energetic, vanished.

"We walked for miles looking for her.

"I remember it like it was yesterday," sister Aline Wilson, age eight when her sister disappeared, said yesterday from Kirkland Lake.

On Wednesday, Aline Wilson got a call that shocked her: Police had made an arrest in her older sister's disappearance, more than 38 years later.

Londoner Barry Manion, 60, the missing girl's second cousin, was charged with first-degree murder and abduction of a person under 14.

Picked up in London by the OPP, Manion is in custody in northern Ontario and is to appear in court in Haileybury next Tuesday.

"It was unexpected but I was excited, relieved," Aline Wilson said.

Wilson immediately called her sister, Karen, 11 when their eldest sister vanished, and the two went to their mother's house to break the news.

"I jumped to the ceiling. I'm so happy," Kathy Wilson's mother, also named Aline, 67, said.

"To be honest, I knew the first night she left that she was probably dead," the mother said. "But I always held out hope that they'd find who did it."

News that the girl's father's cousin had been charged didn't seem to surprise the family.

"Not at all," said the sister, Aline Wilson. "It's really hard to relive this, but we've been living it for 38 years."

Every year on the anniversary of Kathy's disappearance, Oct. 20, the family shares memories of her, she said.

The family remembered a girl always laughing, who loved school and tried to convince her mom to give her money to buy the neighbour's horses.

Once, sent away on holidays for two weeks with relatives, Kathy Wilson called her mom after two days, homesick.

"She made me come and get her. That's why I knew she didn't run away," mother Aline Wilson said.

Her father, Garnet Wilson, was a diamond cutter at a Laughlin Adams Mine, where his work buddies got paid days off to help search for the young girl when she first went missing.

Garnet Wilson didn't live to see an arrest made in his daughter's disappearance.

"I wish he would have been alive to see this," said his daughter, Aline Wilson. "But I hope this gives hope to the other parents out there waiting."

A brother, Bobby, 10 when Kathy Wilson disappeared, died at 34 and is buried in Kirkland Lake.

The family has been waiting for Kathy Wilson's remains to be found before deciding how to honour her memory, her mother said.

"It's a happy time and it's a sad time. We have closure."

Online

More about Katherine Wilson at www.friendsofkathy.com


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