Imagine if someone you loved walked out the door and they never came back.
That’s the devastating reality far too many families have had to face as they hold out hope that someday their loved one will come home.
As a result, the provincial government declared April 29 to May 5 Missing Persons Week in Saskatchewan. It’s seven days to remember the missing and the fight to find them.
Below are just a few from Saskatoon, who have never returned home.
The missing persons featured in the video above are just a fraction of those who have vanished without a trace across the country and province.
“This is one of the cases where a teenager went missing with no risk factor,” Sue Ramsay, with Child Find Saskatchewan, said.
“If Mekayla Bali can go missing, anyone can go missing.”
Each case is unique. It’s as though they mysteriously disappeared into thin air.
“I’ve likened it to if you’ve ever lost your child at a mall or at the fair or even in the playground that absolute gut-wrenching feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach for maybe two minutes until you see your child or you find them,” Ramsay said.
“For these parents that never goes away.”
For weeks, months, and sometimes decades, families hold out hope their loved one will be found.
“As human beings we are structured to find answers, conclusions and closure,” Ramsay added.
“We look for that and when someone has passed away we get that finality – these people don’t have that.”
According to Child Find Saskatchewan, when a teenager runs away they are typically located within 48 hours.
Amber Alerts have been extremely successful in Saskatchewan, although the outcome is sometimes not what everyone hopes for, said Ramsay.
The fact remains that hundreds of people go missing every year, most are found safe and sound but that’s not always the case. Currently, there are 128 long-term missing persons in the province.
“When you’re dealing with a long-term missing family there is a minimum of 12 people waiting,” said Dorthea Swiftwolfe, the missing persons liaison with the Saskatoon Police Service.
Multiply 128 by 12 and that’s 1,536 people waiting for their loved ones to come home.
“You have to imagine a big piece of your spirit, heart, your soul missing every day.”
Swiftwolfe said it’s her job to provide both support and hope to those waiting for some kind of news.
“That circle of hope can be hoping that their loved one is safe, hoping their loved one comes home or is located so at least they can bring them home in some fashion.”
She said no case is hopeless because there’s always someone who knows something – even the smallest bit of information could lead to answers.
To report a tip to police, contact Saskatoon police at 306-975-8300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.