For the women who disappeared did have families. They were loved, they had friends, they had lives that began long before their terrible end. And Maggie de Vries's sister Sarah was one of them.
Although Sarah and Maggie shared a comfortable, middle-class upbringing, Sarah, adopted as an infant, was black, while the rest of her family was white; and so she alone was the victim of racist taunts and prejudice. As Sarah reached adolescence, her troubles grew. She ran away from home. She became addicted to drugs. She ended up on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. But always she was loved.
Missing Sarah, which incorporates excerpts from Sarah's journals, is Maggie de Vries's story of her search for her sister. From those journals, and from the recollections of people who knew Sarah during her 14 years downtown, emerges a portrait of a bright, funny and sensitive woman who found herself trapped in a downward spiral of self-loathing, prostitution, drugs and violence.
From the moment Sarah disappeared, her sister never stopped looking for her. Even after Sarah's DNA was discovered at Robert Pickton's farm, and hope was replaced by grim certainty, Maggie continued her search. This time she was looking for answers. Why did so many women have to disappear before the authorities took notice? Was there any way Sarah could have been saved from her life on the streets? And what can we do to help those women who are still trapped, by chance or circumstance, in the same bleak world that Sarah de Vries once inhabited?