In November 1984, Wilma and Cliff Derksen’s 13-year-old daughter, Candace, went missing on her way home from school in Winnipeg, Canada, sparking one of the city's largest searches for a missing person.
Six and a half weeks later, Candace’s body was found in a shack not far from the Derksen home, her hands and feet bound. Nothing could have prepared the Derksen's for this life-changing experience.
It would be 22 years before a suspect was identified, and in 2011 found guilty of second degree murder. A re-trial for the accused began in February 2017.
As Wilma Derksen watched her own family go through the court process, and continued to meet and interact with other victims, she envisioned for a comfortable, safe oasis for crime victims: a space near the law courts that could serve as a place of rest for victims of crime during their connection with the court process and criminal justice system- a place in which victims, survivors and loved ones could connect with others to receive timely information, nourishment, and encouragement.
Following the original trial, Wilma joined the board of an organization whose focus was to help foster safer communities. The idea of Candace House continued to gain support from the community, growing from a project to an independent organization and becoming incorporated and achieving charitable status in 2014.
Candace House continues to work closely together with victims, survivors, community social services organizations and government agencies to help make this vision a reality.