Holly Ellsworth-Clark has been missing from her home in Hamilton, Ontario for over three months.
The 27-year-old musician grew up in Calgary and relocated to Toronto some time in 2019 to join a band and be with her boyfriend. Neither the project nor the relationship worked out, so she moved to central Hamilton in October 2019, where she had been offered a room in a house with other musicians who aspired to make a band and record at their in-house studio. The project, once again, didn’t work out, so Holly Clark decided to concentrate on writing and performing solo, which she had been doing for some years. She uploaded videos of her performances and covers to her YouTube channel and performed locally at shows and had been writing an album right before she disappeared. She continued to live in central Hamilton, worked remotely online and visited home for the holidays when she could. She had returned to Calgary to spend Christmas break with her family shortly before she went missing. Her sister, Kate, told media outlets that Holly had “suffered some disappointments” and had been spending more time alone than she usually did. She went on to say that spending time outdoors was one of the ways her sister would combat feelings of loneliness and that they used to hike and camp as a family but never had Holly gone off without informing anyone.
Shortly after Holly Clarks return to Hamilton in December 2019, her loved ones noticed a change in her behaviour and said that the usually warm, kind and outgoing girl had started making emotional and fearful phone calls home.
On January 11, 2020 at 4:00PM Holly walked out of her home near Sandford Avenue North and Cannon Street and has been missing since. CCTV footage captured the 27-year-old leaving her house that day. She was last seen wearing black boots, black jeans and a black long-sleeved T shirt with a belted pouched clipped around her waist.
After she went missing her loved ones flew to Hamilton to canvass and put up missing posters in the local and surrounding area but received no tips or information leading to the whereabouts of their missing family member.
One week later, Holly Clark’s parents noticed they had a voicemail from their daughter. The concerning message had been left one day before she went missing:
“I would really like a plane to get out of Hamilton. I would really, really like a plane ticket out of Hamilton to Calgary please and I would like to come home and visit you and Dave (her father)” she pleaded in the voicemail.
“I’m missing you so much (sob) so that’s all I want in the world is to see you and Dave because I love you so much (sobbing)”
Holly then regains her composure and continues.
“So, um, if you could please, um, uh, help me out with a plane ticket that would be really, really, greatly appreciated. Okay, I love you. I love you and I look forward to hearing from you. Okay. Bye”
Almost three weeks later on February 3, police discovered another surveillance tape that showed a woman resembling Holly Clark walking down a road near Wentworth Street and Shaw street at around 4:50PM on the day she went missing. The woman had a black garbage bag slung over her shoulder and was wearing another garbage bag over her upper body as a makeshift poncho as she walked down the rain slicked street.
Initially Hamilton police believed the footage was too low-quality to positively identify the woman as Holly Clark, but they later confirmed it was her.
Her father argued that the woman resembled his missing daughter in every way, she had the same hair cut and colour, dressed the same, walked the same and appeared to be 6ft tall and around 200lbs.
Hamilton Police are not treating the disappearance as a crime, although they said Holly clearly left the house in a “state of crisis”, a statement that had those following the case wondering if Clark had suffered some kind of mental health breakdown. Holly did not take all her belongings with her, reports state that she left spontaneously with no signs of a planned or premeditated disappearance.
On January 20, CHCH reported there were three sightings of Holly Clark at Budget hotel in east Hamilton. Police investigated the tips but did not search the hotel as they were unable to obtain the 48 warrants needed due to lack of evidence. Much later that day at around midnight another tip came in regarding the same motel, this time it was sent directly to the missing woman’s friends and family. The tipster claimed they saw Holly Clark “drugged out of her mind, dragged along by another man.”
According to Clark’s father, she had at one point before she went missing, called home to say she had been running from two unidentified males in a forest for an entire night.
Those following the case speculate whether these untoward characters pursuing her were real or imaginary threats. Some speculate Holly Clark may have been suffering psychosis or a manic episode in which she believed she was being followed while others believe she may have been legitimately followed and threatened.
“She said some preposterous things but…everything about her disappearance is consistent with her being terrified and just running” her father said.
A few days before Holly went missing, her roommates called 911 after she broke into her own bedroom through the window.
Holly was an athlete. She was a 6ft, 200lb, three-time wrestling Champion. Her father believes that if she was scared, she was scared for a reason. He expressed shock and confusion that his missing daughter’s story was now somehow linked to an east Hamilton motel and sex trafficking and even more confused that police were unable to search the hotel despite the tips they had received.
“If she is involved, it’s against her will.”
The case is reminiscent of another missing Canadian case from 2012. Emma Fillipoff disappeared from outside the Empress Hotel in Victoria British Columbia Canada when she was 26. She also believed she was being followed and made distressed phone calls to her mother asking to come home before she went missing.
Holly Clark has not been located.
If you have any tips or information, please do not hesitate to call Hamilton Police on 905-546-3816 or email Holly’s friends and family at: firstname.lastname@example.org