Dolly Chang has a calendar page for the month of March laying on her kitchen table.
Black fine-tip marker notations on each day chronicle her granddaughter Makayla’s life, as best Dolly can ascertain, from text messages and phone conversations – where Makayla said she was, who she was with, and where she might have been going. Some squares have big X’s, others have question marks. The March 1 square marks Makayla’s 16th birthday, the age of consent when teenagers earn full right to do whatever they wish, wherever, whenever, with whomever.
March 11 was the last time Dolly saw her.
March 17 was the last time a friend saw her.
“The last time she texted me was on the 19th and the last time I saw her was the 11th,” Dolly said.
In the few days before she went missing, Makayla told Dolly she’d been staying at homes of various friends, some of whom she’d been hanging out with since late summer 2016.
When Dolly tried to track down Makayla and received conflicting accounts from Makayla’s friends about to where she’d gone and with whom, Dolly contacted the police.
One of the people Makayla had contact with is Steve Bacon, 53, who Dolly confirmed lives at 609 Bruce Ave. and that Makayla had visited there.
“On the news programs they keep saying that Makayla was living there, and she wasn’t,” Dolly said. “I know I haven’t seen her a lot, but she was lying to me, telling me she was with girlfriends and that and she maybe was there, but it sorta looks bad for me. Why would that grandmother allow her to live there? And I didn’t, you know, I didn’t.”
Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said Bacon has “spoken freely with investigators.” Police have never said Bacon is a suspect nor person of interest and won’t comment about particulars of the case, including what might have turned up from a search of properties at 608 and 609 Bruce Ave. on Monday.
“We’re being thorough,” O’Brien said. “We’ve searched the residence prior. We searched it again with use of the tactical team to ensure that nothing was missed and anything of evidentiary value was found and we’re not indicating what, if anything, was found during that search.”
Human failings with Makayla’s mother and father meant they couldn’t care for her so Dolly has raised Makayla since she was three. She said Makayla’s parents are extremely worried. They love her.
“My son is just beside himself,” she said.
As is common with parents and teens, Dolly and Makayla had stormy spots in their relationship. Counselling programs they attended together helped them build skills to better understand one another. Dolly acknowledges Makayla’s weaknesses and strengths.
“She was very good to her friends. Very loyal to her friends,” Dolly said. “She’s a very loyal girl, to the point of going against me. I used to say, ‘Honey, you have to fix yourself first before you can help, you know, but they’re just so into their friends and I understand that.”
If anyone has any information on Makayla’s whereabouts, please contact Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.