Family mourns missing mother 27 years after she vanished

Blackstone Valley

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Todd Thibeault’s family considers a rusty bridge running over the Blackstone River as a memorial to his sister.

There are no signs that explain it. There’s nothing around that indicates why the bridge matters to his family. But every few years, they come from Indiana to stand on it.

“A river can become a memorial to somebody when you don’t have answers,” Thibeault said. “It’s for mom. Mom deserves the right to know.”

In 1992, his big sister Katrina McVeigh disappeared. He was 16. She was 27. 
They were as close as can be though.

“She was always mischievous,” Thibeault added. “She was up to something, always had you. If you needed an issue, she was right there, whether it be a hug or anything else.”

They all took her disappearance hard.

Thibeault’s mom begged for answers in front of Eyewitness News cameras in 1992.

“Come home, Katrina,” Charlotte Saulnier said. “Please let us know you’re alright.”

As time passed, the family believed she was killed. Their pleas changed.

“If she’s gone, then let us give her a decent burial,” Saulnier said. “Let us have the comfort of mourning her.”

As time went on, Saulnier received a cryptic phone call.

“It was something to the effect that ‘you can find your daughter by the river bank,'” Thibeault recalled.

They searched along the river with Woonsocket police cadaver dogs. Nothing turned up. Thibeault still believes they’ll find her somewhere along the Blackstone.

“Just wondering, you know, if all those years, if I just kept on going up this way if I would’ve found something,” he said.

The family lives in Indiana now but came back on a hot July day to remember their sister.

“Faith of a mustard seed, you can move mountains,” Thibeault said. “I am hoping at some point, at the right time, we’ll find her and be able to give her a proper burial.”

Thibeault’s brother made the trip for the first time, along with Thibeault’s daughters and grandson.

The family walked up to the bridge clutching flowers.

“Carnations were her favorite flower,” Thibeault said.  “So that’s why we do carnations.”

They bowed their heads in prayer then counted, “1…2…3” before tossing the flowers into the river below and pausing in silence.

“Maybe, just maybe, by the grace of God, the flowers will find her if we don’t,” he added.

The family has always wanted to know who was involved. Now, they just want to know where she is.

“It’s not about who anymore,” Thibeault said. “Maybe somebody will drop a line and say, ‘hey, this is where she was at and that’s all the information you’re going to get’ and as far as the family side, that’s satisfaction.”

As police look for answers, they added the investigation to a deck of playing cards. Each card highlights an unsolved homicide or missing persons case in Rhode Island.

Katrina McVeigh is the 9 of diamonds.

More Cold Case Cards »

“I just want it to end for my sister, for my mother,” Thibeault said.

Anyone with information on this case should call 1-877-RI-SOLVE.

12 on 12 Digital Original – The Cold Case Cards: All In

The story behind the cards.

Part I: DNA Changing the Game | Part II: Cases Closed | Part III: Inside the Task Force | Part IV: Is It Ever Too Hopeless?

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