Shelley Desrochers was 41 when she disappeared in London, Ontario in January of 2016. She was last seen on January 5, 2017 on Hamilton Road and at the time was known as living what police called a “high risk lifestyle” – which referred to someone who was addicted to drugs or was involved in the sex worker trade.
In our latest podcast series, Finding Shelley Desrochers: Part One – Getting to Know Shelley, our host Karla Stephens-Tolstoy speaks to Shelley’s sister and two of her friends about Shelley’s childhood growing up with an abusive mother and being put into the foster system. They explain how Shelley felt like she didn’t have many options and she felt forced into sex work.
Her friends and family described Shelley as someone who was kind, loving and brave. She was always going to do the right thing and stand up for others when needed. She even testified against her pimp to help get him convicted and sent to prison. But, while Shelley was willing to stand up for those around her, it didn’t seem that there was much support to help her out of her own negative situation. Her friend Elizabeth explains that being trafficked and working for a pimp was the only option for them to get out of abusive group homes and foster homes.
So far, no connection between Shelley’s lifestyle and her disappearance have been made. This first installment in our series seeks to move past the missing posters and social media posts to discover who Shelley really was and the influence that she had on those closest to her.