Public searches for missing Port Alberni woman Amber Manthorne have now wrapped up, as supporters have covered hundreds of kilometres of territory.
Volunteers were back out Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24 between Port Alberni and Nanaimo, searching logging roads for any sign of the woman. Manthorne has not been seen nor heard from since July 7. Her car was found abandoned two days later on a logging road south of Nanaimo. The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit took control of the case on July 12.
Public searches for the past two weekends have concentrated around Great Central Lake, where Manthorne lived, and a gravel pit on Ninatti Road near Cassidy, close to where her car was discovered.
“We’re not going to be hosting anymore large search efforts,” said Kristie St. Claire, spokesperson for Manthorne’s family and friends. She is one of the people behind the Finding Amber Manthorne Facebook page, and has organized the four public searches.
Searchers in the Alberni Valley concentrated on Elsie Lake, Dorhan Lake, Ash, McLaughlin, Lois and Lowry lakes. The RCMP and search and rescue asked volunteers to concentrate on the Ash Main, so teams were out combing the roadsides all the way to the 36-kilometre mark, from both the Comox Valley and Alberni Valley sides, St. Claire said.
In Nanaimo St. Claire was back at the gravel pit on Sunday and travelled the logging roads to Nanaimo River and through Nanaimo Lakes area, talking to people and putting up missing posters.
Self-help stations were set up with maps, directions and a check-in list. Searchers were asked to take 1.5-kilometre stretches and search along both sides of the logging roads and in buildings like pumphouses or intake areas around the lakes.
St. Claire said volunteers will be setting up self-search stations in places that agree to host them, like the Tseshaht Market, which has given volunteers space in a picnic table area. Maps and information like the tip line (250-730-1544) and RCMP information will be posted. Last weekend the self-search setup at Tseshaht Market included a sign-in sheet, water and snacks.
“We still have people and friends that are wanting to go out and search,” St. Claire said. Other people who are regularly in the outdoors have been phoning in to let St. Claire and the team know when they have been to a particular area. There is a team of people compiling all the data who are also in touch with RCMP investigators.
The RCMP have been giving Manthorne’s mother regular updates, St. Claire said. Police were also back out at Great Central Lake with a cadaver dog on Friday, she added.
A call to the RCMP for an update on the case was not returned before presstime.
St. Claire wrote in a Facebook post that “more and more tips and information are trickling in steady right now…so there is always more work to do and more data pouring in daily.
“Now is the time to rest and allow all the information to settle into our brains. Sleep on things. Revisit the important stuff in your minds and give thanks for all you have learned and gained from this insane rollercoaster ride into hell and back…”