For three weeks, Shelley Fillipoff has been walking in the shadow of her missing daughter, Emma.
“I go to the coffee shops where she went, I go to the parks where she went, so it’s kind of like I’m shadowing her,” she told the News recently. “It’s not a nice feeling; it feels weird.”
Fillipoff flew to Victoria Nov. 28 after receiving distressed phone calls from her 26-year-old daughter. She arrived at 11 p.m. expecting to find her at the women’s shelter where she had been staying for six months.
She was too late. Emma left the shelter that morning and was last spotted only a few hours earlier, walking barefoot on the street by the Empress Hotel.
“I spend days on the street talking to homeless people,” Fillipoff said.
“I’m staying at the Quality Inn (on Blanshard Street) because she was staying at the Sandi Merriman House right across the street and I can see the shelter from my window.”
Nobody knows why she was there, said Fillipoff, describing her daughter as fiercely private.
The first signs of trouble came in the summer of 2011.
Emma was living with her parents in Ontario, but not eating. She moved to Victoria one and a half years ago, and lived mostly with friends.
Fillipoff describes her as kind and giving, with an angelic quality that draws people in.
“Everyone who knows Emma absolutely adores her. She touches everybody.”
Fillipoff has committed to staying in Victoria until she finds her daughter.
Victoria police are no longer commenting on the case, saying the added attention may be hindering their investigation.
Emma is five-foot-five with a slim build. Anyone with information is asked to call VicPD at 250-995-7654.
A community effort to find Emma has expanded beyond the city. Activities are being organized through a Facebook page called Help Find Emma Fillipoff.