Search continues for Sonya Cywink's killer for over a quarter of a century
LONDON, ONT. -- Twenty-six years after Sonya Cywink's body was found near Iona, Ont. her sister believes they are inching closer to finding her killer.
"The unique part is we've now moved into a phase where we are prepared to knock on doors," says Meggie Cywink, Sonya's sister.
"We have leads and we have people that want to talk to us, so we want to talk to those individuals."
Cywink’s remains were discovered on Aug. 30, 1994 at the Southwold Earthworks National Historic Site of Canada, in Elgin County, southwest of London.
Police say she was last seen alive in London near the intersection of Dundas Street and Lyle Street around 2 a.m. on Aug. 26, 1994.
Meggie has dedicated the past quarter-century to finding her sister's killer.
Recently with help from the OPP they made a billboard campaign. In 2019, for the 25th anniversary of her death they set up shop for more than a week at the last place she was seen alive, Dundas and Lyle Streets in east London. They made banners, and posters.
"We received pretty credible clues when were on the street for eight days in the area where she was last seen," says Meggie.
Meggie has been working with retired OPP officer Chris Gheysen, who was the lead detective on the case.
"A team of us, worked on that investigation for months," says Gheysen.
"We had ten officers working the cause, then myself and another partner for another half-year after that. We conducted a lot of interviews. I maintain we left no stone unturned, and we did everything we could."
Years later, they feel they are making some headway. The hope is that people who may have been scared to come forward then, have had a change of heart.
"They may be more apt to talk being burdened by their silence and they may want to help," says Gheysen.
"At that time, they may have been hesitant for fear of retribution. There is no doubt there is several people who know what happened. We'll get to the bottom of this, confident in that."
Despite being retired, Gheysen is still working the case alongside Meggie who will continue to search. Both feel someone knows something they aren't telling police.
"It's been 26 years," says Meggie.
"What if it was your grand-daughter, daughter, sister or mother?
People need to think about if it was them, how would they want others to be involved, and to actually care about a life that mattered to us. Not only that, she was carrying a child at the time, so that's more meaningful because that was two souls we lost that day."
Cywink was originally from the Whitefish River First Nation territory on Manitoulin Island. At the time of her death she was living in the east end of London, police say.
There is a $60,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for her death.
Police can be contacted about this investigation at 1 888-310-1122 or (705) 329-6111 or through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222- 8477 (TIPS). The public can also go to the nearest police authority.
Further information about this case is available on the OPP website.