• CBC's Finding Cleo wins best serialized story at Third Coast International Audio Festival

    A CBC investigation that revealed the truth behind a young girl's disappearance is now being recognized at one of the world's top audio festivals.

    Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo won the inaugural award for best serialized story at the Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago, which awards excellence in non-fiction audio storytelling.

    The podcast follows host Connie Walker's investigation into the disappearance of Cleopatra Semaganis Nicotine. In the 1970s, the young Cree girl was apprehended by child welfare workers in Saskatchewan and adopted into an American family.

    Her siblings, who were also placed with new families, reconnected as adults — but for decades, they couldn't find Cleo. The painful rumours about her fate, and their prolonged search for the truth, form the heart of the 10-part podcast.

    "We are thrilled that Cleo's story is being heard by people around the world and recognized by the judges at Third Coast," said Walker, who wanted the podcast to both solve the mystery and shed light on the bigger context around the controversial Adopt Indian and Mé​tis program.

    "It was a privilege to be entrusted to tell Cleo's story — to help her family uncover the truth about her death but also to shine a light on what happened to a generation of Indigenous children who were taken during the Sixties Scoop."

    Walker, herself a Cree woman from Saskatchewan, said she recognized something of herself in the story. She and her production team spent months "consumed" by their investigation.

    "When I saw the photo of Cleo for the first time, I felt like she could have been somebody that I knew growing up," she said. "It really hit home for me."

    The story captured the attention of a panel of judges from Third Coast, who bill their annual awards ceremony as the "Oscars of Radio" and review entries from around the world.

    LISTEN NOW