In August 2007, 20-year-old Christina Calayca vanished during an early morning jog while camping in Rainbow Falls Provincial Park with a cousin and two church group friends.
The park is located roughly 200 kilometres (124 miles) east of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Christina and her fellow inexperienced campers made the 14-hour trip from Toronto to enjoy their long weekend in the park.
The group arrived at around noon on Sunday, August 5th. They set up camp, prepared food, and relaxed. Then, the campers decided to take a short nap. However, they failed to set their alarm and didn’t wake up until 10:30 pm. To make up for lost time, Christina, her cousin, and friends had a bonfire, enjoyed more food, and chatted. They finally settled down to sleep at around 4:00 am.
By 6:30 am on Monday, August 6th, Christina and Eddy, one of the friends from her church group, were wide awake. They went running, but split up along the way. Eddy wanted to run along the highway, but Christina preferred the park trails.
Eddy ran for about an hour and returned to camp. Christina never made it back from her run. She was last seen wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, a purple striped shirt, black pants, and white running shoes.
Case File Theories
Started a new life
Did Christina run off to start a new life? It’s highly unlikely, unless she preplanned for someone to pick her up from the isolated campground. And that person has managed to stay silent all of these years. Even more, the people closest to Christina describe her as responsible, dependable, and devoted to her family. She was planning to attend teacher’s college and was looking forward to an upcoming family trip in Panama. On the surface at least, it doesn’t appear that Christina had anything particular to run away from. And according to those who knew her best, she wasn’t the type of person who would willingly sever all contact with loved ones.
Did an animal attack and kill Christina while she was trail running? At first, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) thought that Christina had been killed by a bear. Dr. Stephen Herrero, a bear expert and author of Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance, explained that “there are roughly 900,000 black bears in North America and since 2000, there have been an average of only two black bear fatalities a year.” The odds appear to be against Christina dying from a bear attack. Also, if she was attacked on the trail by a bear, or even a pack of wolves, blood or scraps of clothing would likely have been found during the search. Given all of this, it’s doubtful that Christina was killed by an animal.
Did Christina leave the trail, get lost, and succumb to the elements? Although this is the most probable scenario, it’s extremely odd that no trace of Christina has ever been found. By the time the official search for Christina had ended, the OPP Northwest Region Emergency Response Team had used “four canine units, three helicopters, two fixed-wing aircraft and a float plane” to try to locate her. Approximately 100 police officers and specially-trained civilians searched the area for 17 days. What was at the time considered cutting-edge technology was also used in the search, including GPS mapping software, infrared cameras, and underwater side-scanning radar. Not a trace of Christina was found.
Also, the park’s trails were especially well-marked, with only one other person ever losing their way in the park: a women in her 70s who was found within 9 hours. So even though Christina had little outdoor experience, it seems as though it would have been no easy feat for her to lose her way. Mind you, volunteer searcher Matt Borutski explained that the bush along the trails in the park was so dense that “You could trip in here and not fall down. Because the bush, it would hold you up.” Perhaps, then, if Christina did panic, leave the trail, and die in the woods, her remains might not be found.
Did Christina’s friends or cousin have something to do with her disappearance? It did take roughly seven and half hours for them to report her missing to the OPP. But during this time they did frantically search for Christina. We only really have Eddy’s word that he and Christina went running and that she was alive and well when they separated. The police repeatedly interviewed all of the people camping with Christina, paying special attention to Eddy. Nothing resulted from these interviews, though, and no one in the group has ever been named a suspect in Christina’s disappearance.
Did a killer happen upon Christina during her run in the woods? Christina’s family has described her as “very trusting,” and they worry she may have trusted the wrong person. There were many people in the area; it was a long weekend, after all, and visitors were drawn to the region to enjoy the park and events like the annual Dragfest held in nearby Terrace Bay. Maybe one of the people in the park that morning was an opportunistic killer.
After the search for her daughter was called off, Christina’s mother, Elizabeth Rutledge, raised funds for multiple private searches. Since Christina’s body has never been found, Elizabeth believes that her daughter was abducted and taken from the park. The OPP, however, insists that foul play is not suspected in Christina’s disappearance.
What do you think happened to Christina?
Christina’s family and loved ones deserve to know what happened to Christina. They hold out hope that one day she will be found.
The Government of the Province of Ontario is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the whereabouts of Christina. If you have any information about Christina’s disappearance, please contact the Director of the Criminal Investigation Branch, Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122 or (705) 329-6111, your nearest police authority, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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