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Police hope social media campaign will help find girl who disappeared in 1985

Nicole Morin is pictured in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

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Nicole Morin is pictured in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

TORONTO - It's been nearly three decades since eight-year-old Nicole Morin disappeared after leaving her apartment to go swimming with a friend — carrying a beach towel — but police say they haven't given up hope of finding her alive.

Toronto police released a re-enactment video Wednesday of what they believe happened to the girl on July 30, 1985 before she went missing, saying they hope tips from the public will help solve the case.

Det. Sgt. Madelaine Tretter said police are still treating Nicole's disappearance as an abduction, not a homicide.

"We are not prepared to give up that hope that one day we will find Nicole alive," she said in a news conference, where police also announced the creation of a "Find Nicole" Facebook page and a Twitter hashtag (#FindNicole) to help spread the word about the case.

The girl's disappearance 29 years ago triggered one of "the most extensive" searches for a missing person ever conducted by Toronto police, who said they have been receiving tips from the public regularly for three decades, including as recently as this year.

The one-minute re-enactment video has been posted on YouTube and will also be played at Mac's Convenience Stores across Ontario, police said.

Det. Const. Kim Litster-MacLeod said Morin's shocking disappearance continues to affect the way the public thinks about child safety.

"It was unusual for the time, certainly, so people then became so much more aware of their children's surroundings and putting more and more restrictions upon them," she said. "And I think as time has evolved, we've certainly continued to do that more and more."

She said some of the residents of the apartment building, at 627 The West Mall in Etobicoke, are still haunted by what happened.

"It still stuck with everybody there," she said. "It's a case that's impacted everybody."

Police said that Nicole Morin's mother has died in the years since the disappearance, but they still communicate regularly with her father.

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