Search broadens to west coast

Jamie Bennett
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RNC investigating possible sightings of Ann Marie Shirran in Corner Brook area

A number of recent sightings of women matching Ann Marie Shirran’s appearance has shifted the focus of the investigation of her disappearance to the west coast.

Ann Marie Shirran

Previously known as Ann Marie Baggs and a former resident of Steady Brook, Shirran has been missing from her home in Kilbride since July 18. While the ground search in the area around her home has been suspended, investigators have continued to follow leads and tips about Shirran’s whereabouts.

As a result of a number of possible sightings in the Corner Brook area over the weekend, city RNC Const. Robert Edwards said RNC members from the east coast are in the area gathering information about tips they’ve received.

“We have one of the investigative members from St. John’s that’s working on the file here in Corner Brook meeting with the people who called in these leads to us to determine whether or not this information will be beneficial to us in the course of the investigation,” Edwards said Wednesday. “She’s one of the team members with the missing person file in St. John’s, so she’ll be out here as long as it takes to follow up on all leads here.”

While he wouldn’t say whether the new information has been corroborated or not, he said the RNC has the obligation to ensure Shirran returns home safely, and with this in mind, will thoroughly follow every lead the force receives. He urged the public to report any information they have.

“Every tip we get we take as serious,” he said. “We don’t know if the caller is providing us the sighting based on what they’ve seen through the media ... or whether or not they knew this person personally in the past. We don’t look at anything as a false tip. We look at every tip as authentic. Over the course of the investigation on that tip, we’ll determine whether it’s beneficial to us or not. We don’t want people to minimize their involvement so if they think it’s important information then please pass it on to us.”

Edwards said investigators are also working closely with Shirran’s family, along with airlines and Marine Atlantic in an effort to exhaust every avenue in the search.

Meanwhile, as someone who’s known Shirran for more than 20 years, Corner Brook’s Crista Brake admits she isn’t sure what to make of the new information in the search. While she’s pleased to see investigators continue to work diligently on each new lead, she doubts the 32-year-old mother of a young son is in the area.

“We have one of the investigative members from St. John’s that’s working on the file here in Corner Brook meeting with the people who called in these leads to us to determine whether or not this information will be beneficial to us in the course of the investigation,” RNC Const. Robert Edwards said Wednesday.

“I don’t think she’s here,” Brake said. “Unfortunately, I don’t believe she took off and I don’t believe she’s walking around Corner Brook on her own free will. For her to be seen walking around the city as if nothing is going on and all these people are searching for her —  that’s impossible.”

She said family and friends remain shocked at Shirran’s disappearance, and given her friend’s caring nature, she believes she would have checked in by now if at all possible.

“It’s something you don’t ever expect to hear, especially not a person like Ann,” she said. “She’s one of the most loyal, most steadfast people I know. If there’s ever anything you need or anyone to lean on, Ann was always there for you. She would never do this to her family or her friends. She’s not the type of person to just not care.”

The RNC urges anyone with information regarding Shirran’s disappearance to contact Crime Stoppers or the RNC at 729-8000 or 637-4100.

The Western Star

Organizations: RNC Const., Marine Atlantic, Crime Stoppers

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Steady Brook, Kilbride Western Star

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