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The sad, strange case of Thelma Krull

I’ve been researching and writing about missing people for a long time. From this experience, I’ve learned that two groups of people are most likely to vanish:

  • Children
  • Young women in their teens to early thirties

Thelma Krull, however, was a 57-year-old grandmother when she disappeared a year ago. And she vanished in my own backyard–the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, which is located in central Canada–just a hop, skip and a jump from North Dakota and Minnesota.

Thelma had a habit of taking long walks. She left her home at 7:23 on the morning on July 11th, 2015, strolling through the neighbourhood known as Transcona. This isn’t an area known for crime.

Police believe she made it to Civic Park by 8 a.m., where they say she encountered some type of “distress.” They aren’t clear about what kind of distress it was–it could have been medical, but at least some officers suspect the woman was abducted.

Civic Park

Why on earth would anyone kidnap this woman, who from all accounts had loving family and friends, a good life? Even her boss misses her, to the point that he gave an emotional speech at her vigil last night. There have been no demands for ransom. Disturbingly, police found Thelma’s glasses and cell phone near this park. That’s never a good sign.

What’s even more disturbing about Thelma’s disappearance is that Winnipeg, with a population just shy of 800,000, is really just a big small town. Most people who live here were born and raised here. There’s less degrees of separation between the residents than celebrities have with a certain Mr. Bacon. When a young man went missing here earlier in the year, he was found within a week, and it turned out quite a few people had known where he was all along–they just weren’t talking.

In Thelma’s case, it must be the same. Someone must know what happened to her–probably several someones. Why aren’t they coming forward?

Purple ladyPolice have released the descriptions of several people known to be in the park at the time of Thelma’s disappearance. One is this woman, pictured to the left. The others are described as a Caucasian couple in their thirties. Not a lot to go on, and honestly, our officers seem stumped, although there have been rumours that are far more disturbing. I won’t repeat them until I can get some confirmation.

UPDATE: Police have spoken to the woman in this photo, but she was unable to provide any helpful information.

As far as I know, I never met Thelma, but Winnipeg being what it is, we’ve probably crossed paths. She seems like someone I’d like. She loved purple–even had a purple streak in her blonde hair. The people who attended her vigil yesterday wore purple in her honour.

I really hope someone finds her soon.

What do you think happened to Thelma Krull? Have you ever had someone disappear from your hometown? Any cases that haunt you?

Please share this post far and wide! The more people who see it and read about Thelma, the better. Let’s bring her home.

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60 Comments

  1. OK. I’m unclear as to how they know she had some kind of ‘distress’. Did she dial 911 or an emergency number on her phone?

    Reply
    • JH

      Good question, Denise. That is a detail the police haven’t released, but your hunch about 911 is a good one. Makes sense.

      Reply
  2. Someone drifting through town could have abducted her, but why? Very sad.

    Reply
    • JH

      Exactly, Alex…why? So many questions, but no answers.

      Reply
  3. I sure hope they find her. I know tragedy could be the case, but let them find the answers so her loved ones can have peace. I live in the area where Jacob Wetterling disappeared. Although, they now have a suspect, it is still awful and haunting. Also, a couple years ago, a man named Peter Achermann went missing. He was older, late 70’s. His car was found at the edge of a woods, left his wife’s meds in the car, and was never seen again. His face was on a billboard for a couple years. I don’t think the family ever got closure on what happened to him. Here’s an article from a couple years ago in the Brainerd Dispatch, http://www.brainerddispatch.com/content/five-long-years-search-peter-achermann

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks for the article, Mary. That is a really strange story. I wonder if he got confused and wandered off, only to get lost in the woods?

      I’ll check into the Wetterling story as well–I’m not familiar with it.

      I agree about closure. Not knowing has to be the most awful thing.

      Reply
    • JH

      No worries about the link, Anna. I don’t need it in any case–I can get to your blog by clicking on your name. 🙂

      A happy ending does seem unlikely, since she’s been missing a year with no word.

      Reply
  4. These ones that go missing without a trace do haunt me. There was woman in Roseville, CA that went missing some years ago – her child was still in the high chair and her purse and other belongings were still inside the house.

    Reply
    • JH

      I’ve heard of that story, Tami! That one was so creepy and disturbing. Sad that no one ever resolved it.

      Reply
  5. It’s sad enough when children and teens go missing but grandmothers?

    What’s scary is that since this is a like a big small town, someone she knew could’ve taken her.

    Reply
    • JH

      That is frightening, Chrys…and it’s one of the more disturbing theories I referenced. I really hope it’s not true, for her family’s sake.

      Reply
      • It is just so sad and tragic and terrifying for the family to be haunted by not knowing what happened to their wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend. I’m sure they run over in their minds all kinds of terrible scenarios. They need to know what happened so they can begin to heal. I hope and pray whoever knows what happened gets a backbone and a conscience and tells the police. Even if they are afraid of repercussions it’s the right thing to do.

        Reply
        • JH

          Well said, Dianne. I agree 100%!

          Reply
  6. I keep thinking she had to have gone with someone she knows, because she was outside and if she screamed and yelled and fought you would think someone would have seen/heard something.

    Reply
    • JH

      So true, Nadia…she looked like a fighter. But how did the police know she was in distress? As Denise said above, I bet she tried to call for help on her cell.

      Welcome to my blog! Thanks for commenting.

      Reply
      • The police reported that the scene where her glasses and cell phone were found, was disturbed and showed signs of a possible medical emergency. My theory is she fell hard enough to lose her glasses and cell phone and “someone” offered to help her and took her to their vehicle to drive her home or to a hospital—-a few yards away. She probably asked for her glasses and phone—- what happened from there, I don’t have any ideas. That would account for why no one thought she was in danger. But you’d think someone would have seen this and is probably afraid to come forward because they know they should have reported it. My other theory is it was someone she knew.

        Reply
        • JH

          That’s really scary.

          Reply
  7. A dear friend of mine was murdered the night before her last day of University. When she didn’t show up for the final exam, a few of us joked that she’d gotten drunk and was hungover. It was typical, we said, of her to miss the last day, the last test.

    A man had broken in to her apartment, assaulted her two roommates and stabbed her in the heart.

    I’m not sure I’ve ever gotten over it.

    This was in 1999. Twice, men have stood accused of her murder and twice they have been acquitted. I’m not expecting to ever know who killed my friend or why, but dammit, I’d sure like to .

    Reply
    • JH

      Oh my god, Ryan, I’m so sorry. That is heartbreaking. I don’t think anyone gets over something like that.

      I hope the police are able to find her killer.

      *hugs*

      Reply
  8. It always haunts me when I pass the Missing Persons Board at the local Wal-Mart here. All those smiling faces, a mocking echo of their present whereabouts. 🙁 I hope this lady’s fate is soon resolved.

    Reply
    • JH

      Me too, Roland. Missing persons cases get to me like nothing else. How, in this modern day and age, can so many people just vanish?

      Reply
  9. I’m stumped on this too. Robbery gone bad? Did someone force her into a car hoping to take her to an ATM for cash?

    Thank you for offering to spread the word of my short story collection. I will email you soon.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Tamara! I appreciate your patience and will do whatever I can to help.

      Those are sound theories. I hope some day we’ll learn the truth about what happened to Thelma.

      Reply
      • I fervently hope so too.

        Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Patricia. Fingers crossed!

      Reply
  10. I’m thinking either a robbery or a rape gone wrong. She may have tried to defend herself but only ended up making it worse for herself. I live in the city with Paul Bernado and his ghastly wife hail from and committed the brutal Myers of Leslie Mohaffey and Kristen French. What is disturbing is that my niece in law came for Christmas and was upset because a good ie d of hers died from throwing up and choking. Much later it came out that it was Bernardo’s sister in law and that the bitch coaxed her husband to make her feel dopey and then having sex with her all while she watched. Bernado is still in jail but the bitch has been out for a while. She has 2 kids I think, plus she owns her home….disgusting isn’t it?

    Reply
    • JH

      I’ll never forget that case, Birgit. I know it well.

      Your niece-in-law was friends with Karla’s sister Tammy? What a sad case that was. Poor girl has no idea how evil her own sister was.

      Those two were a match made in hell, that’s for sure. My heart goes out to their victims.

      Reply
    • It is disgusting.

      Reply
  11. That’s so sad. My husband’s parents lived in Winnipeg for a while (they’re originally from North Dakota). The way they described it made it sound like you did – a big small town. You never think bad things will happen in places like that, but unfortunately they do. 🙁

    Reply
    • JH

      Oh, plenty of bad things happen here, unfortunately. We’ve been the “Murder Capital of Canada” for too many years to count.

      But disappearances like this are a rarity, thankfully! Thanks for commenting, Ellen.

      Reply
      • Those murders are usually gang and drug related.

        Reply
  12. This whole story is disturbing. The one piece that totally freaks me out – and I’m not exactly sure why – is the glasses being found. What happened to make them fall off her face? Were they broken or twisted or folded up next to the phone? And then for her to not be able to really see clearly what was happening….

    Reply
    • JH

      Definitely disturbing. I think it’s because we know no one would willingly leave their glasses behind, on the ground. Something obviously happened to her, whether she was accosted or had a medical emergency.

      But if it was a medical emergency, you’d think we would have found her by now.

      Reply
  13. Gosh, it certainly does sound like a robbery gone wrong. The police obviously know more than they are telling, holding back information so they’ll know when/if they get the right person. How horrible for this poor woman’s family!

    Reply
    • JH

      I agree, Dianne. I can’t imagine the pain they’re going through. Losing a loved one is bad enough, but to not know what happened to her? The absolute worst.

      Reply
  14. Oooh, scary. I think not knowing is probably the most terrifying part of all.

    Reply
    • JH

      Most definitely, Loni. I agree.

      Reply
      • I live in East Kildonan, a 5 minute drive from where she disappeared. It’s scary not to know if an abductor or killer lives near us and if he’ll strike again. I used to walk alone too, but no more.

        Reply
        • JH

          That’s sad, Dianne. No one should have to live in fear! I hope this is resolved soon.

          Reply
  15. This kind of story is heartbreaking for everyone. I can’t imagine what her family and friends are feeling. I’ll be thinking about this for a long while.

    I’m late in getting around to may favorite blogs this week because Blogger ate my Blog List. Great week for this to happen with my book tour starting. I love Blogger!

    Reply
    • JH

      Yeah, I didn’t have to be asked twice to leave it behind for WordPress. WP is glitchy too, but nowhere near as much.

      Hope your tour is going well!

      Reply
  16. We’ve taken our kids tobogganing at this park in the winter many times. It’s a great little community spot. I’m hoping it was just medical distress, but the question is…where did she make it to? Perhaps she had a heart attack/stroke, became disoriented and ended up in a secluded spot? Made it to someone’s house, but they wouldn’t let her leave? I wonder where her keys ended up, as you’d never leave the house without a key. Super strange, indeed.

    Reply
    • JH

      It is really strange, and so sad. I hate to say it, but if it was just a medical issue, I think we would have found her by now.

      Still, until she is found, there is always hope.

      Reply
      • I think so too, if it was just a medical emergency she would have been found.

        Reply
        • But as you say there is still hope.

          Reply
  17. What a dreadful thing to happen to what seems to be a nice old lady. It’s like she pissed someone off or something. I hope you keep us updated and that she turns up alive.

    Reply
    • JH

      I’ll definitely update the story when they find her, Lexa.

      Reply
      • I’m so glad to be able to read what others are thinking and to share my thoughts. Bless you for starting this.

        Reply
  18. There is some evidence information that the cops are leaving out as per an interview I saw. They need more to go on though in order to release any info.

    Reply
  19. I am the daughter of Misssing Peter Achermann . How does an 82 year old man who at that age is still sharp as a tact, disappear between picking up his wifes medication some grocerys and driving home to his family .His car found only miles from his route home. Then the search was so intense , And lasted for months. Still an open case. Over 7 years and I’m scared to go home I don’t want to jepordize the investigation. . Some one knows what happened. But they wont talk. Why R

    Reply
    • JH

      Hi Renee,

      Thanks for commenting, and sorry for my tardy reply. This deserves a personal response, so I will email you.

      Reply
  20. Would love to hear from you

    Reply
    • JH

      Sent you an email, Renee. <3 My apologies for the delay.

      Reply
  21. So here we are almost 2 years since Thelma disappeared and still NOTHING. I check these pages every week or so in hopes there will be new information. There hasn’t been in almost a year. This article said there were disturbing rumors but I have not heard them. I can’t imagine how terrible this must be for the family, to wake up every morning and then remember. I hope and pray for the truth to come out so this case can be marked “solved” and closed.

    Reply
    • JH

      It is sad, Dianne. I wish there would be some closure in this case for the family.

      Reply
  22. Ya it’s so sad about Thelma .. but they say Shen was seen wandering with that’s aboriginal man that same day but why and
    Where he took her no one seems to know ..

    Reply
    • JH

      Since that’s a rumour and not a fact, best not to repeat it. This is the way race-related witch hunts can begin…

      Reply

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