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Search continues for missing Vanderhoof woman Chelsey Quaw

Quaw was reported missing from Saik’uz reserve on Oct. 11
A photo of Chelsey Quaw released by the RCMP on Oct. 12. (RCMP photo)

Search efforts are still underway a week after Chelsey Quaw was reported missing from the Saik’uz Nation reserve in Vanderhoof on Oct. 11.

Quaw, who also goes by Chelsey Heron, was last seen walking away from her father’s residence at William Crescent in Vanderhoof during the early morning hours of Oct. 11.

She is described as a 29-year-old Indigenous female with brown hair, brown eyes, weighing 120 lbs (55 kg) and 5’ 10 (170 cm) tall. She was last seen wearing blue jeans and a purple winter jacket.

SAR teams from across northern B.C. have joined in the efforts to help find her. The Nechako Valley Search and Rescue, tasked by the RCMP to assist in the search, were joined by SAR teams from Prince George, Fort St. James and Houston from Oct. 11 to the evening of Oct 15.

Chelsea was not located after nearly five days by more than 50 trained search and rescue personnel over the weekend.

“Close Type 2 Grid Searching was conducted in a radius of 1.1km around the house Chelsey was staying at, through the forest and brush, door to door search was done throughout the community by community members and SAR,” said Christopher Walker, SAR manager, Nechako Valley Search and Rescue.

Trail and road searches occurred in a radius of 4.2km by SAR, helicopter, drones, and community members. Major travel corridors and lakes were also searched in areas out to 17.3km by vehicle and helicopter, added Walker.

SAR teams were joined by community members from Vanderhoof, neighbouring First Nations and surrounding areas.

“We had a lot of volunteers coming from all across B.C. and I want to thank everyone who are supporting us during this very difficult time,” said Saik’uz chief Priscilla Mueller while providing an update on Oct. 16.

Meanwhile, the Saik’uz Nation is going to continue its door-to-door search.

“We have already checked all the sheds, any empty buildings, empty cars, we’ve done all of that two times over,” Mueller said, adding Saik’uz is also planning a sweep in the community to check ditches and anywhere there’s long grass.

There are also plans to check locations around Prince George.

This is the third person reported missing from the Saik’uz reserve within the last two years. While Nicholas John’s remains were found near Vanderhoof in October, 2022 , Jay Raphael is still missing since Feb. 26 of this year.

“It is very scary to me that Jay Raphael is still missing since February, and if we don’t find Chelsea, we are hoping that we can find her, it’s going to be very devastating to the community,” Mueller added.

About the Author: Binny Paul

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