‘I felt so alone in my search’: Tatyanna Harrison’s mother

Natasha Harrison spent weeks searching for her 20-year-old daughter, Tatyanna, whose body was found on May 2 in Richmond.


When Natasha Harrison isn’t working growing crops for a Surrey greenhouse, the 40-year-old has been driving through the Downtown Eastside, combing the neighborhood looking for her missing 20-year-old daughter.

Announcement 2


That search took a tragic turn on Saturday when police confirmed that a body found in Richmond was that of his daughter Tatyanna. Vancouver police also revealed that the young woman had died from poisoning with toxic fentanyl.

Harrison took it upon himself to conduct his own search, citing the lack of urgency displayed by Vancouver police.

Harrison first reported her daughter missing on May 3. Over the next six weeks, the mother sniffed around shelters, one-room squat hotels and tents for her daughter, who is described as indigenous, 5-foot-1 with brown eyes, a slim build and wearing prescription glasses. .

“I knew the only way we were going to get any information was right away, as the trail was hot,” Harrison said.

“I followed all the leads. I paid people to take us inside the SROs so we could see if it was Tatyanna who had been seen in one of the rooms or if it was just someone matching the description of her.”

Announcement 3


Tatyanna’s case is one of several involving indigenous women from the Lower Continent who have been reported missing in recent months. After the remains of three women were recently discovered in the Downtown Eastside, signs were posted throughout the neighborhood drawing attention to those who are still missing.

From her efforts, Natasha Harrison gathered information, including her daughter’s last known whereabouts, the Vancouver shelter she was staying in, and the man she was seen with, all of which she sent to investigators on the case.

“I asked anyone, everyone. I even approached complete strangers. I told them that I was his mother and they couldn’t say no to my face. So I knew that the man she was staying with was her new boyfriend. She was reluctant to tell me her name earlier.”

Announcement 4


A missing persons poster of 20-year-old Tatyanna Harrison, who was last seen on April 22 meeting a friend at the Grand Union Pub on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
A missing persons poster of 20-year-old Tatyanna Harrison, who was last seen on April 22 meeting a friend at the Grand Union Pub on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Photo by Francis Georgian /PNG

Harrison says precious time was lost before Vancouver police took up his daughter’s case.

She said it took investigators more than 20 days to begin the search. “I was told by Vancouver police that they couldn’t investigate because the missing persons file was being sent to the Surrey RCMP.”

However, Tatyanna had told her mother that she was moving to Vancouver after leaving her residence in Surrey around February 3.

“After I first did the missing person report, two Vancouver police officers were in my living room. My mom and I were crying, begging them to look for her, to check the security camera footage from her bank or shelters,” Harrison said.

More than two weeks later, after her daughter’s case was transferred to the Vancouver police major crimes unit, investigators gained access to security footage of the woman accessing her RBC bank on Main and East Hastings on March 23.

ad 5


“Initial findings from the investigation indicated that Tatyanna was last seen in Surrey. As such, the Surrey RCMP has assumed leadership of the investigation,” Vancouver Police confirmed in an email to Postmedia on Friday.

“When investigators discovered evidence that Tatyanna had used an ATM in Vancouver in late March, Vancouver Police took over the investigation and continued to gather evidence.”

Natasha Harrison studies the poster of her 20-year-old daughter, Tatyanna, who went missing on the Downtown Eastside last spring.
Natasha Harrison studies the poster of her 20-year-old daughter, Tatyanna, who went missing on the Downtown Eastside last spring. Photo by Francis Georgian /PNG

Tatyanna was last recorded replacing a lost debit card and withdrawing cash alongside a man who researchers have not yet identified.

The next day, she sent her mother one last text from a new phone number, which rang in the Downtown Eastside.

Tatyanna was last seen meeting a friend on April 22 at the Grand Union Pub near Abbott and West Hastings streets. The last time Tatyanna stayed in a shelter at 875 Terminal Ave. with a partner was from February 9 to 22.

ad 6


Police said she never came to pick up her welfare check the last week of April.

Harrison described his daughter as “deeply” compassionate.

“Even in the midst of her struggles with substance use after experiencing a traumatic event at age 14 and a recent relapse, she would always be the first to run to people who need help,” she said.

During the search for Harrison in the Downtown Eastside, he said he came across people who reported seeing his daughter 15 minutes earlier.

However, rushing to inform VPD of possible sightings, the mother said she waited on the phone for up to half an hour on hold. When she contacted an officer, she was told that she had to send tips to the Surrey RCMP.

“I felt so alone in my search,” Harrison said. “Even (a week ago) on Thursday, I was told by Vancouver investigators that they had just sent a request to access Tatyanna’s Snapchat account. I figured they would have done it by now.”

ad 7


Police say 20-year-old Tatyanna Harrison was reported missing on May 3.
Police say 20-year-old Tatyanna Harrison was reported missing on May 3. jpg

After Tatyanna’s case was transferred to Vancouver police, the mother was provided with a direct line of contact to an investigator on the case who she could provide any leads to.

Investigators have shown Harrison a rolling list of tips, put together by members of the public, which are highlighted in green once they have been investigated.

In text messages between the mother and the investigator, the VPD officer tells her on June 30, “I honestly don’t know what happened. None of us do. We are still searching every day, but the leads are getting weaker and we just have to hope for a lucky break.”

When the mother asks about the status of her daughter’s investigation via text message on July 4, the VPD investigator replies, “Almost all leads have been exhausted and we have to try and get lucky now.”

ad 8


After more than eight weeks of searching for her daughter, Natasha Harrison suspected she was not safe.

She has known my phone number by heart since she was a child. She would have reached out,” she said.

Harrison said, as he fought back tears during a phone interview, that he constantly worried that someone had hurt his daughter.

“Tatyanna is my everything,” he said.

On Saturday, const. Tania Visintin, a spokeswoman for the Vancouver police, said that a body found May 2 in Richmond had been positively identified as Tatyanna Harrison.

“Tragically, we now believe that Tatyanna died in another city before she was reported missing,” Visintin said in a statement.

She said the Coroner’s Service had informed the VPD that he died of drug toxicity, specifically fentanyl.

[email protected]


More news, less ads, faster loading time: Get unlimited, ad-lite access to the Vancouver Sun, Province, National Post, and 13 other Canadian news sites for just $14/month or $140/year. Subscribe now through vancouver sun either The province.

Announcement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their thoughts on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We’ve enabled email notifications – you’ll now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there’s an update in a comment thread you follow, or if a user you follow comments. visit our Community Principles for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail settings.

Leave a Comment