A search is underway for a young Gitxsan woman who has been missing since Jan. 13.
Courtney Wale, 21, was last seen leaving the Red Fish Healing Centre in Coquitlam, reportedly on her way to Vancouver. Family members, friends and community members are worried about her well-being.
Coquitlam RCMP have not issued a missing persons report, upsetting advocates pleading for her safety.
Lorelei Williams of Butterflies in Spirit, a dance troupe and advocacy group working with family members of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls, helped organize a search party for Wale in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside on Wednesday.
Williams says she picks up searches for families whose disappeared loved ones do not meet the RCMP’s bar for missing alerts.
“Families get frustrated and I feel their frustration,” she said.
RCMP say they received a missing person report on Jan. 13 and the case remains a priority. A news release will be issued if investigators deem it beneficial to the investigation, RCMP said.
A number of factors are considered when issuing a media release for a missing person, police said.
“This is a continual assessment, and should a news release be deemed beneficial to the investigation, an appeal for public assistance will be published at that time,” the statement said.
The B.C. Assembly of First Nations has shared a poster of Wale on its Twitter account. It describes Wale as having brown hair and grey eyes.
Anyone with information about Wale’s whereabouts is asked to contact Coquitlam RCMP.