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N. Battleford woman vanishes from Edmonton without a trace in 1971

Gail McCarthy's case is Edmonton’s oldest historical missing person case

EDMONTON – On a cold Sunday morning Nov. 14, 1971, 23-year-old Eileen ‘Gail’ McCarthy vanished on her way to the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton where she worked as a medical technician.

Police reports indicate McCarthy was last seen wearing a brown coat with a white fur collar and white hospital stockings as she boarded an Edmonton transit bus around 6:30 a.m. She had just left her basement apartment at 11820 – 124 St., which she shared with her paratrooper military husband Ian McCarthy.

The couple had only been married about five months and Gail was three months pregnant at the time of her disappearance.

“We were able to trace her to a point at which she would have transferred buses but after that – nothing,” retired City of Edmonton Police Detective Al Gowler said in the book Deadly Encounters: True Crime Stories of Alberta, by Barbara Smith. “She simply vanished and she’s never been seen since.

“We did have one lead on that case once,” added Gowler. “A young woman, a nurse, was waiting for a bus after her shift at the Royal Alex Hospital. She was standing alone at the bus stop and a man drove up, got out of his car, opened the trunk and proceeded to try to put her in it. She had other plans and he finally fled the scene without having accomplished his purpose.”

Gail’s husband reported her missing at approximately 5:30 p.m. that day.

Gail, a brown-eyed petite woman of only 5-foot-3 and 115 pounds, was originally from North Battleford, Sask., and had moved to Edmonton about a year-and-a-half before she disappeared. Police say she had brown hair but had dyed it blonde. In media reports, Gail was described as a quiet, shy, introverted person who loved poetry and baking.

Her case is Edmonton’s oldest historical missing person case.

If you have any information on this individual or any other missing persons, please contact the Edmonton Police Service at 780-423-4567 or Edmonton Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit your tip online.