“Sex-trade worker found in trash bag: police”
This was the headline on page four of the local newspaper. This was the description of the tragic discovery of the body of a twenty-five year old pregnant woman in Winnipeg. The article goes on to describe her (again) as a sex-trade worker involved in the drug trade, and that her lifestyle was “very prone to a lot of violent things happening.” At the end of the article, she was finally described as a daughter, mother and sister. Her family plans to hold a vigil for her this weekend. Her name was Carolyn.
So now I wonder…if I turned up dead, what would the paper say about me? There are two possible versions.
Version 1 (page 4)
“Mentally-ill addict found in trash bag: police”
The body of a woman, found in a garbage bag in Winnipeg on the weekend, was identified by police as a mentally-ill addict reported missing several months ago. The body of Conni Cartlidge, 55, had been in the back lane of an apartment building for a long period of time. Police have classified her death as a homicide. The woman was easily identified by her various tattoos and piercings. She was known to host out-of-control parties and to challenge authority whenever possible. She had several children by different fathers. At least two of her children no longer lived with her. It is likely that her risky behaviour led to her death.
Version 2 (front page)
“Loving wife and mother, and enthusiastic college instructor found dead after exhaustive search: police”
The body of Conni Cartlidge was discovered in Winnipeg after an extensive search by police, family and friends. Conni had been missing for several months. Her husband Brent is devastated by her death, but relieved that she has been found. Her three grown children have flown home to support each other and to continue to work to find her killer. Conni loved her family so very much, and enjoyed sharing stories about them with her college students. She was always happy to explain the significance of her special tattoos. She encouraged others to think creatively and critically, and to advocate for themselves. She especially enjoyed hosting large outdoor gatherings at her country home. Conni was indebted to the women of her local AA group for helping her to find sobriety and happiness in her life. Her family and the police are asking anyone with any information to please contact them immediately.
Every missing or murdered woman or child deserves a Version 2.
©Conni Cartlidge, 2012