Family, Leaders Renew Appeal for Information to Help Find Missing Persons Autumn Shaganash & Dean Mattinas

BARRIE, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum today joined with First Nation leaders to support family and friends of missing persons Autumn Shaganash and Dean Mattinas to renew the appeal for information into their whereabouts.

“This month marks one year since Autumn Shaganash was last seen in the Barrie area, and it has been 88 days since Dean Mattinas was reported missing. Since their disappearances we have hoped and prayed that they both would be found safe and reunited with their family and friends,” said Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum during a press conference in Barrie. “These families have expressed frustration with the investigations into the disappearances of their loved ones. The message conveyed today is that First Nations need more supports from the federal and provincial governments and police agencies when family members go missing, and processes in place to ensure immediate actions are taken.”

It has been just over a year since the disappearance of Autumn Shaganash, 27, who was last seen leaving a family member’s home in Barrie on June 9, 2023. She was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, tan-coloured leggings, slip on Puma sandals and was carrying a black and tan coloured purse. Autumn’s mother is a member of Constance Lake First Nation, and her father is a member of Ginoogaming First Nation.

“As a leader in our community, I am calling on the media to show greater compassion and to amplify the voice of our Indigenous people when they go missing,” said Ginoogaming First Nation Chief Sheri Taylor. “The stories of our missing Indigenous women and men must be told with the same urgency and concern as any other missing person. I urge the police and governments to provide the necessary resources to our communities. It is imperative that we have the support we need to ensure the safety and security of our people.”

Dean Mattinas, 27, was last seen on March 18, 2024. He may have been hitchhiking from Constance Lake First Nation (near Hearst) to Thunder Bay. He was last seen wearing a camouflage pattern or beige jacket, blue jeans, brown boots and possibly carrying a black Under Armour tote bag and/or brown backpack. Dean is a member of Whitesand First Nation, with family in Constance Lake First Nation.

“The disappearances of our people must not be seen as statistics,” said Constance Lake First Nation Chief Rick Allen. “A missing person poster plastered all over the highways – that is not closure. We need to find them and bring them home. Everybody needs to step up, including government and police services. We need to get all the adequate services in place.”

NAN appeals to any members of the public who may have information into the whereabouts of Autumn Shaganash and Dean Mattinas to please contact the families or police.

Anyone with any information on the disappearance of Autumn Shaganash is urged to contact the Barrie Police Service Major Crime Unit at 705-725-7025 (ext. 2160) or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Anyone with any information on the disappearance of Dean Mattinas Jr. is urged to contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

For more information please contact:
Michael Heintzman,
Director of Communications
Cell: (807) 621-2790

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