Kathryn-Mary Herbert

On September 24, 1975 at approx 9:15 PM, Kathryn-Mary Herbert, 11 yrs old from Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada was abducted on her way home from a friends house approx a mile from her home. Authorities believe she was killed that night or the very next day but her decomposed body was not found until November 17, 1975, her skull fractured and her jaw broken. The autopsy was not able to confirm whether she had been sexually assaulted or not. Kathryn-Mary’s body was found on the grounds of an Indian reservation. Her body had been hidden under a sheet of plywood on the bank of the Fraser River near the cemetery on Matsqui Indian reserve, about 11 kilometers from where she vanished. There was a burned out house on the actual grounds where she was found in the Matsqui area. The prime suspect in this case is a convicted rapist, both before and after. He is now free and has never been charged with the murder of Kathryn-Mary. Law Encorcement Contact:

Abbotsford Police at: (604) 859-5225

Cold Case Files

Name : Homicide of Kathryn-Mary HERBERT (SUTTON)

Location : Abbotsford, British Columbia

Details : On September 24th, 1975, the mother of 11 year old Kathryn-Mary HERBERT, reported her daughter missing to the Abbotsford Police Department. Ms. HERBERT was last known to be alive on September 24th, 1975 at around 8:50 pm while walking home along a rural road near

1777 Townline Road, Abbotsford, B.C. after she was dropped off by a friend.

On November 17th, 1975, the body of Kathryn-Mary HERBERT was found in a rural undeveloped area of the Matsqui Indian Reserve, Matsqui, B.C.

Contact: If you have any information about this case, please contact Sgt. Laura Livingstone, E-Division (British Columbia) Major Crime Section, at 1-877-543-4822 or Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477.


Abbotsford Police Department File #1975-7072 E-Division Major Crime Section File #2004E-363



Born Kathryn-Mary Irene on November 1st, 1963, Vancouver, BC. Weighed 6lb 15 1/2 ozs. My little baby girl. I was truly blessed.

When I was a child we watched a television movie with a group of emigrants trying to make a life for themselves in a new land. In this story was an incredibly pretty girl who’s name was Kathryn-Mary. Of course as a youngster, I was so taken with the name, I told my brothers and sisters if I ever had a little girl, I would be naming her after this girl.

When I became pregnant for the second time, I prayed so hard for a girl because I had a son and I wanted a daughter.

God answered and allowed me to mother this glorious baby girl. I named her Kathryn-Mary. Her middle name Irene (after one of the best mothers I have ever known…my former sis in law’s mom). So, here I was with my little girl. I counted every finger every toe.peeked into her diaper a couple of times because I was making sure.

After all, I didn’t want to name a boy Kathryn-Mary.(smile).

Butch loved his little baby sister. When she was old enough to really play, Butch delighted in playing catch and didn’t even mind playing dolls with her (we never called him a sissy, nor, did any one else dare). They loved each other with a passion. Kathryn-Mary some how became Kit. Probably because Butch could not say her full name, and, their momma said there were enough Kathy’s in the family.

Mommy pretty well kept it to Kath or Kathryn-Mary, rarely Kit and never Kathy. Oh, dear God, she was so beautiful. Dark brown curly hair made lighter by the sun. A smile that cold melt the coldest of hearts. And, personality, plus. I was so grateful for a little girl. Her, I could dress up. Boys didn’t have the clothes back then that they do now. I bought her every beautiful dress etc. that I could. It was fun to dress her up. I had three sons after Kath and I enjoyed every one of them as much as I did Kath and Butch. If I could have had a baby a year I would have done. But, I had to settle for five. Kath grew so fast. She loved to play mommy to the boys and I worked on making her realize that she had to be a little girl first and a mommy when she got married. I spend a lot of time with my children.

We went on hikes, picnics, played ball, ran races, stood on our heads together in a row (trying to see who could stay up the longest), went to their favorite place for them to play in the water. I had fun with my kids. All three of my oldest children sat on a horse like they were born in the saddle. I was terrified at thought of getting on one…let alone riding one.  Kath and I usually sat on the blanket when the boys were in the water. We talked about all kinds of things.

Being from a brutal background, I swore my kids could say how they felt about anything. They could ask me questions about any thing and it would be answered. These were the times when Kath and I had most of our special talks. These were the times when we talked about what she wanted to do. These were the times we talked about her wedding day. Her future.

Her ideas. Her dreams.  Not my plans for her. I didn’t want to insinuate any of my own thoughts. It would be her life. Her choices. I was so eager to share her dreams. She would have the support I never did. She would have the love, I never had. She would not have to wonder if her mother would ever love her.

Her heart ached after Donnie drown. I didn’t even know for sometime after. The kids just never talked about him. I honestly thought that children must get over death a lot easier then adults did.

Until one day when Butch told me that Kathryn-Mary was crying. I went into her bedroom and she was sobbing so much I thought my already bruised heart was going to break into tiny pieces.

I held her in my arms and rocked her as she wept. Her words were like a knife in my heart. She missed Donnie. And, she wanted to be with him.

God, when I look back on that, my heartache increases. She did go to be with him. When her sobs were under control, we talked for a long time as to how she had missed him so much and how her brothers missed him as well. Some well-meaning idiot told my babies if they talked about Donnie, I would feel bad. It was then that I learned they had all talked about him whenever they were out of the house. It must have been so hard for my babies…I wanted to throttle whoever told them that kind of nonsense.

It was then that my children began to heal. They knew talking to mommy would work in their favor. And, they now knew it was okay to talk about their pain over losing Donnie. No more would they have to suffer in silence. They were free to express their feelings again.

I marveled at Kath’s ability to bounce back. Talking seemed to help her to deal with the loss of her little brother. I was so happy that the veil over talking about Donnie had been lifted. Now, his name would be a common word in our house. They were no longer afraid to talk about him.

In the month of August (at least I think it was in Aug), I joined a single parent club and they did all kinds of neat outings for children.

September came and we all faced the anniversary of Donnie’s death. On the morning of September 24th, Kath put her arms around me and said the same thing she always said.  What are you doing down there, Shortie? She then told me she had such a wonderful surprise for my birthday (the next

day) and teased me that she was making me wait for the next day for her surprise.

I took the kids to school and went about my own plans for a weekend of fun.  I figured we would not leave the place we were going with the club. Instead, we would have our games and whatever, after the single parents event was over. This was contingent on the length of time the

event took.    I had a parent’s meeting that night. The plans being made

were to visit a fish hatchery, picnic and have a day of fun. I called Kath because she was long overdue.

She said she was coming right home. I told her she was grounded. I went on to my meeting. I had loaned my car out and so needed a ride home. One of the members drove me home. We arrived home about 9:50 pm. We barely pulled into the yard when my oldest (Butch) and the 16 year old girl I had taken in off the streets came running out to tell me Kath had not come home yet. I went into the house and got my keys and took my son (who knew where she was visiting) and a young woman who was visiting her sister (who also lived with me) and we went to the house to pick my daughter up. She had left around 9 pm they told us. We hadn’t passed her on the road and so, went back home to see her there. She wasn’t I started to phone all her friends, getting many a parent out of bed. She was not with any of them. We then went to the police and reported her missing. We continued to search all night and into the next day. Still no sign of her.

The secretary from the parents club called to wish me a happy birthday and I had not remembered it. I thanked her for her thoughtfulness and told her I couldn’t talk because we were headed out to the school to talk to the principal.  Some members of the parent club came over to help with the search. Every night and day we were out looking for her. I sent the two little boys to school, and their brother was skipping to search for his sister…so I relented and kept him with me. I saw the light in his eyes dim. Dear God, please let her come home safe. The longer we searched, the more frightened I became that we might find her.

We went into wooded areas. Wherever the soil looked disturbed we dug, praying all the while, that we would not find her. The sister of the sixteen year old said she was not dead; God would not be that cruel. All the while Kath was missing, I was so sick inside with the dread of the unspoken words running around in my mind. I had been with a friend who said I just can’t believe Kathryn-Mary is missing. She said this over and over until I couldn’t handle it anymore. I (stupidly) said no she wasn’t, that she was locked in the basement and I was going to let her out in three weeks adding something like, of course she’s missing.otherwise we would not be having this conversation.

She made the mistake of repeating the conversation to someone else, who told someone else and so on. A police officer told me they were coming in the morning with a warrant to search my house. I asked why…and he said someone had told the police that Kath had hidden something in the basement. After he left, I went to the basement to find whatever she may have left there. I searched until the wee hours of the morning and accomplished nothing. I called the officer and asked him to come back.

When he arrived, I told him I had searched and found nothing. And then, I asked what it was.

He then told me that someone had called and said I told that I killed her and buried her in my basement!!!  I said for him NOT to wait for the warrant…to go ahead and search. As we went through the house together, it didn’t take him long to realize.I would have had to use a jackhammer or pick and shovel to get through the cement floor and then I would have had to mix the cement, replace what I had disturbed and then age it awful freaking fast to be in sync with all the cement surrounding it.

How obvious would that have been!!! He told me the name of the woman who said it and I had never heard of her. He said another thing that ripped at my already tattered soul…I would be able to smell her if she was dead and hidden here!!!

The police came back the next day and I said go ahead and search. They said they did not have too because I had allowed the other officer to search in the middle of the night. They had already back tracked to my friend and learned what she had really said and she had told someone other then this person she felt so helpless and was so sad for me because of my panicked state wondering where my baby was I had said she was locked in the basement…etc. At this point in time I asked that they verify where I was the night she disappeared. No they said they knew where I was. And, they knew I didn’t know where Kath was Aw…the gossip and the added grief…how quick are we to believe lies and not question. How quick are we to always believe the worst rather then look at the best. How much more fun is it then to pass on unsubstantiated garbage? How cruel are we humans to our fellow man? Why are we motivated by jealousy, greed and vindictiveness? Why is it we cannot be glad that someone else shares the load and takes some of the limelight away from us??? All of these things lead to destruction. Are we not our own worst enemy when we do these things? Why can we not share and care on an adult level? How wrong are we for not looking at our own motivations behind what we are feeling when we are negative about another’s actions?? How is it that in a so-called caring world, we allow others to destroy our dreams, or, add salt to our wounds???

This is something we all have to work through every single day. And, it was I realized, just the beginning of man’s inhumanity to man. These people were not through with me yet. I received several phone calls.

These were from some special person who added to my pain by telling me she would be found all cut up. The police did not take it seriously for a long time. Then they finally tapped my line and found out it was a radio announcer who had pretended friendship and caring for my family.

He, of course, said I had called him and wouldn’t hang up. Then he kept calling the phone company saying I was calling him all the time.

Fortunately for me there were those people in the house to say that NO ONE was using the phone! This same person was working on my son to get him to live with him and his girlfriend. Talk about sickos!!! He sure added to our distress. The problem right now is, I cannot remember if this information was found out before or after they found Kath.

I had one police officer tell me not to call the station anymore. He said they would call us if they heard anything. When I complained to another cop about it. He was quick to remind me I was a welfare mother…he paid my way, I didn’t pay his!!!!

After this happened, I started to go out drinking and dancing. I didn’t want to think about anything anymore. My baby was missing. My other baby was dead. I couldn’t bear to feel anymore. I drank as much as I could to dull the senses. At least three nights a week were dedicated to drink. I didn’t have it in the home because of my children. I have to tell you folks…drinking is NOT the answer!!!! Either you face it or find another way. I sure as hell couldn’t get drunk enough to make the pain of her missing go away.

On Saturday, November 15,1975, I prayed to God and asked Him. If she has run way, which I don’t believe. Please let me know where she is. I promised I would not make her come home. I just wanted her to know I loved her. But, if she was dead, which I was starting to believe. Please give her back to me so I could bury her. I wanted to weep…but the tears would not come.

My friends had called and invited my children and I to dinner on the following Monday. We were just about to sit down to dinner when the phone rang asking me to come home. The police were waiting for me. My friends kept the children and I drove home with my heart ready to explode either they had Kathryn-Mary or they found out where she was staying. That she was dead did not even enter my mind at that point.

I had to calm myself. I took a deep breath as I pulled into my driveway and parked behind the police car. The date November 17th.two days after I prayed my prayer. My baby girl was dead. She had been murdered.

To date…this case remains unsolved…and I still battle for justice.my baby girl deserves justice and I demand it!!!

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