FALL RIVER: Sitting inside Good Day Cafe that is situated next to Lake Thomas in Fall River, Janice Landry speaks eloquently about the motivation behind her latest book, The Legacy Letters.
Inside the book by Landry, a former CTV journalist, is the stories of unsolved murders in the N.S. area. One of those murders with local connections to the Enfield and Fall River area, the murder of Andrea King, a student from B.C. who after landing at Halifax Stanfield Airport in 1992 disappeared. Her body was later found at the Sackville Business Park.
“She travelled to N.S. in 1992 to do some scouting of Universities, and she went missing from the Halifax Stanfield Airport. Her family came here many times looking for her,” said Landry. “I got to know her family very well in their search for her. Sadly, a hunter found her remains in the woods near the highway in Lower Sackville off Glendale Avenue.
“It breaks my heart that they, along with the other families mentioned in the book, don’t have closure. It’s been 25 years for them.”
In the book Landry allows Ann King a way to thank the many Nova Scotians for the support they received, which was overwhelming. She wrote an Open Letter that is in the book.
“The strength that these people have is hard to comprehend,” said Landry. “I want Ann and all the other families know that we’ll do whatever it takes to try to help them and hopefully the murders will be solved one day.”
She said it wasn’t an easy task to research the murders she highlighted in The Legacy Letters, which is published by Pottersfield Press. Fellow author Phonse Jessome, of Fall River, provided the foreword in The Legacy Letters.
“It was incredibly hard to do (go back and research),” said Landry. “I have been a journalist for 30 years and this was the most difficult piece I’ve ever worked on for that very reason.
“It was like ripping a band-aid off an old wound. I had to go back and look at the old stories. It was very emotional watching myself do these stories as a young woman.”
Landry said one of the main messages she is trying to relay through The Legacy Letters is that the families who are impacted by this trauma understand that people really do care about them.
“I started going back looking at stories and families I met in the ;late 80s and 90s because I carried those people with me all the time,” she said. “I’ve never forgotten about them.
“It really bothers me that their cases are unsolved, and that the families must live with this trauma.”
She said a concern she had in reaching out to the families was that she did not want to hurt them more, but rather let them understand they cared and were still pushing for answers in their loved ones cases.
Landry said it’s not just the families who are impacted by the murders—but any first responder who attended those scenes are too.
“Trauma has a big ripple effect,” she said. “Whether you’re the person driving the ambulance; the news photographer; the police officer; or firefighter all of those people have to heed that it can impact them over a period of time being around the trauma.
“I’m not saying that everyone who responds to a trauma event will be impacted , but you can have many years of experience and training but you’re a human being. We’re not machines that you can flip a switch on and off.”
Looking back at things, Landry feels the stories she covered in the past have left an impact on her too.
“At this stage of my life to reflect back on it, I think it bothers me more because I do have more life experience, I am a mom, and the empathy I feel for these families grows with time,” she said. “I wanted to show the families that even with the passage of time people don’t care less, but they care more.”
And with The Legacy Letters, Landry has done exactly that.