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16 years later, community of Regina continues to search for Tamra Keepness

This an image of Tamra Keepness from 2004 when she was five-years-old.
This an image of Tamra Keepness from 2004 when she was five-years-old. File / Global News

Tamra Keepness has been missing for 16 years, but she continues to be at the centre of an ongoing police investigation surrounding her whereabouts.

Keepness disappeared at the age of five without a trace. She was last seen in her home on the 1800 block of Ottawa Street as she headed to bed.

Every year since, the community holds an annual event to encourage people to come forward with any information.

Read more: Regina police renews commitment to solving 2 high profile cold cases

On Friday, volunteers handed out information and freezies in Core Community Park to keep the conversation around her disappearance going.

“Anytime that we have one child missing or one person missing, it’s always important to keep that awareness alive until that person comes home,” said Erica Beaudin, executive director of Regina Treaty Status Indian Services, which organizes the annual event.

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Beaudin says she has a personal stake in finding Keepness, as she was part of the initial search group that formed in 2004.

As Regina police scaled back on their search, Indigenous search teams have continued looking in areas around the city and in First Nations.

“We see this as part of our civic responsibility, not only to the community of Regina, but to our First Nation members, and our First Nation communities,” Beaudin said.

Click to play video 'Tamra Keepness one of many missing Indigenous girls listed in class action lawsuit against RCMP' Tamra Keepness one of many missing Indigenous girls listed in class action lawsuit against RCMP
Tamra Keepness one of many missing Indigenous girls listed in class action lawsuit against RCMP – Jul 5, 2018

Keepness has been missing since July 5, 2004 at around 10:30 p.m.

Regina Police say hundreds of thousands of hours spent on the investigation have failed to locate any trace of Keepness.

It remains unknown if she had wandered from the home or was abducted, or if she is alive today.

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“We have no evidence to what happened to her,” said Regina Police Chief Evan Bray.

The police service continues to get tips on a monthly basis, but none of them have lead to Keepness’s whereabouts.

“The officers who worked very closely to this file, many are retired, still hold this file very closely. It’s not abnormal to see an officer working on this investigation, crying, in the fact that we still haven’t found Tamra,” Bray said.

New officers who were five years old, the same age as Keepness when she disappeared, are now on the service themselves, helping continue the search.

“I don’t think there’s a police officer in our service that hasn’t spent time on this investigation in some way,” Bray said.

Read more: Tamra Keepness’ family pleads for help at annual barbecue marking her disappearance

Anyone with information — as small as it may be — is asked to contact the Regina Police Service at (306) 777-6500 or Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-8477.

The Regina Police Service is offering a $50,000 reward for any information that leads to the whereabouts of Keepness.

“We still hope there is someone out there who has a piece of info that can ultimately lead us to finding Tamra,” Bray said.

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“Oftentimes it’s just one small piece of information. Something seems insignificant but ultimately it can be the missing piece that can put the puzzle together.