Search volunteers are holding out hope after a Richmond senior, who’s been missing for three weeks, was spotted multiple times.
Feng Qin Zhou, 75, who volunteers say has Alzheimer’s, was last seen by family on Nov. 20. Since then, a group of about 500 volunteers have mobilized using the Chinese social media app WeChat to organize daily search parties and meetups.
But Zhou remains missing, in spite of those volunteers’ efforts and even a number of sightings in the Steveston area of Richmond.
“We’re just really hoping to find her because we keep on missing her,” said volunteer Ashley Wong.
“We were here everywhere walking and looking for her, but somehow we keep missing her.”
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Wong said Zhou was seen most recently on Wednesday around 3 p.m. near 2nd Avenue and Chatham Street.
But what Wong doesn’t understand is why so many people have apparently seen the senior walking around, confused and covered in dirt, and not approached her or called 911.
“I would follow her, try to talk to her, see what’s wrong with her, and if she can’t answer, then she’s not normal. I would call. I would call 911.
“The problem is for the past 21 days, lots of people have seen her. They saw her and they just walk away. They know shes not normal, alright, and they walk away.”
She said even if the woman people are seeing isn’t Zhou, it is very possibly someone who desperately needs their help anyway.
Wong said Zhou’s appearance may have changed slightly, after spending three weeks alone in the cold outside.
“Her features are a little changed. Her grey or white hair apparently is so dirty and muddy that it’s turned to a darker colour, and then her pink shoes have turned into a grey or black. She has a blanket, so that confused people.”
Volunteers don’t know where Zhou might have gotten the blanket. But she has apparently developed a limp, and she is believed to be wearing only pink house slippers.
She’s already spent three weeks in the freezing cold — but volunteers are determined to find her.
“It’s just that we all have good hopes since lots of people have seen her,” Wong said.
“It’s a miracle she’s still alive, so we wouldn’t give up.”
Richmond RCMP first issued a press release on Nov. 21 asking for the public’s help in locating Zhou. In an emailed statement to Global News on Thursday, Cpl. Dennis Hwang said police are aware of possible recent sightings.
“We continue our search for Mrs. Zhou. We are thankful to have received some tips. They have been investigated including the recent sightings,” Hwang said.