The Lethbridge Police Service has solved a historic missing person case after fingerprints confirmed that two sisters who were last seen more than 30 years ago are alive and living in the U.S.
Sisters Anna and Kym Hakze were reported missing in 2003 by their mother who hadn’t seen or heard from her daughters in more than a decade. The last time the women were seen by family was in Edmonton in the mid-1980s. At the time eldest sister Anna was estranged from her family and struggling financially but the sisters were inseparable and the pair disappeared together and haven’t had any contact with relatives since.
Today Anna is 67 and Kim is 53.
“After so many years it’s very unusual for a case like this to end with good news,” said Staff Sgt. Scott Woods, who oversees the Criminal Investigation Section. “Usually we find ourselves telling a family their loved one has met with some sort of tragedy or more often than not in a case of this age, never being able to provide any answers.”
“We hope that knowing Anna and Kym are out there provides some sense of closure for this family and we are very pleased to finally have been able to do that.”
The investigation has spanned nearly two decades, multiple detectives and many dead ends – until now. Over the years police investigated a number of tips and leads, including the submission of familial DNA during the Robert Pickton investigation as there was information suggesting the pair had moved to Vancouver and providing the women’s fingerprints to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System operated by U.S. authorities.
In the fall of 2015 LPS issued a news release in an attempt to generate new leads in relation to four historic missing person cases – including the Hakze sisters – and while several tips were received and investigated, none of them panned out.
In January 2017 during an annual file review it was noted that a theft report had been filed with the Vancouver Police Department in 1999 by a woman with the same name as an alias Anna Hakze was known use. A copy of the report was not in the LPS file, so a new request was made to VPD. When the complainant was contacted it turned out she was not in fact Anna Hakze, however she provided police with information that corroborated a Crime Stoppers tip had been received in 2012.
The Vancouver woman had saved a newspaper clipping from 1984 that advertised a book written by another woman with the same unusual name. The Vancouver woman had never known anyone else to share her name and found the ad humorous, so she held on to it.
In 2012 police had received and investigated a Crime Stoppers tip that identified two women – one being the author of several books and the other with an alias known to have been used by Kym Hakze – as the possible missing sisters. Police attempted to contact the author and her publisher at the time but neither responded to multiple requests. Police also attempted to locate the other woman named, but she was not found in the location that had been provided.
In performing new online searches of the author’s name from the old Crime Stoppers tip police located a recent news story which included a photo and the area she was currently living. Ultimately there turned out be no records in that name BUT police did locate records in the name of the author from the 1984 Vancouver newspaper clipping. A number of documents related to that name were obtained and one of them listed a sister as the next of kin.
Fingerprint comparison subsequently confirmed the two women are in fact Kym and Anna Hakze.
In late February U.S. police attended the home of Kym Hakze, who no longer goes by that name, and confirmed her true identity. LPS subsequently spoke to Kym via telephone. Kym explained the sisters were unaware they had been reported missing and walked away from their lives decades earlier.
LPS have not yet spoken directly to Anna, but her sister has had contact with her and other U.S. authorities have confirmed her presence in the community where she currently residents.
Contact information for the women’s siblings has been provided to Kym, but she has requested her privacy and as such her new name, location and other details about her life will not be disclosed nor will police disclose any further information about Anna’s identity or location.
The Hakze family has advised police they do not wish to provide a media statement and media are requested to respect their privacy.
**Staff Sgt. Scott Woods, Criminal Investigation Section, will be available to speak to media today at 11:30 a.m. at the Police Station. This will be the only opportunity for on-camera interviews, however Staff Sgt. Woods will be available for phone interviews at 403-330-5052 following the media availability**
PLEASE NOTE: The photos included are from prior to Anna and Kym's disappearance