The price of silence: what happened to Amber Ellis?

Police are now saying they will reward $50,000 for information that could solve the case of Amber Ellis’ disappearance.

Amber was last seen on Six Nations of the Grand River. Police told TRT just after her disappearance that her last known location was at a trailer east of Cayuga Road on Sixth Line.

Another officer told reporters they’d received reports from individuals from Six Nations claiming she suddenly packed a bag and quickly left on a road trip to BC.

Her mother disclosed in an online forum that she believes Amber has been the victim of foul play.

Now, police say they also believe foul play is involved and they are hoping the large cash reward, provided by the province of Ontario, will be enough to get someone out there to come forward with information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Amber’s disappearance.

How is it that a person in our relatively small community can vanish without a trace — with no calls to her family, her children, and no updates to social media?

Perhaps the bigger question is that, in a community where “word travels fast” and where gossip is usually the ruling headline over and above what actual information gets shared by official sources — how is there not enough information coming forward to proceed further in the investigation to solve her disappearance?

Is this a matter of members of the community not coming forward with information that could lead to an arrest or is this a failure of law enforcement to take action in the case of a missing woman on a First Nations reserve?

Over the last two decades, our community has been traumatized over and over with grizzly accounts of the most unspeakable things happening — to women, men, children, and the unborn.

It is unsettling to know that we are yet again in a situation where someone knows something — and perhaps they are unwilling to talk so they can protect someone else or perhaps they are afraid to come forward with what they know.

In the disappearance cases and homicide investigations that have taken place over the last five years on Six Nations the common denominator always seems to be silence.

And tragically, shamefully — it has been silence on the part of friends or family who have been protecting perpetrators.

This is a dangerous pattern, evident in other unrelated cases as well when dealing with issues of family violence, sexual abuse and other violent crimes. People are unwilling to, or afraid to come forward.

Now, with this reward, the stakes have been raised. And hopefully, a cash reward this large is enough to get people who have details that could help solve this case to come forward.

There is great power and freedom in telling the truth.

Carrying secrets will slowly eat away at the mind of a person and eventually, can fracture your sense of self.

A Columbia university study found that the average a person can keep about 13 secrets at a time — 5 of those being things they have never told anyone.

However keeping traumatic secrets can result in excessive stress, guilt and can manifest in physical symptoms such as anxiety, digestive problems, problems with memory, headaches and if kept for a long time can result in more serious physical illnesses like PTSD, hormone disruption and stress-related physical disorders like auto-immune disease and cancer.

For now — the Six Nations community, police and most importantly Amber’s family await information that could lead to bringing Amber home and bringing closure to a tragic mystery they have carried for too long already.

Amber is described as 5’9” tall, weighing 120 lbs and has a thin build with long dark hair and brown eyes.She has a visible horizontal scar between her eyebrows and a visible tattoo of a Chinese character on the nape of her neck.

Police have launched a tip line specifically for information on the disappearance of Amber Ellis. The government of Ontario is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible for her disappearance. If anyone has any information please call the Amber Ellis tip line at 1-866-549-2090, the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crimestoppers at 1-866-222-8477.

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