The family of a Fort McMurray woman who went missing continues their search, 13 years after her disappearance.
Elaine Alook, a mother of four, was reported missing back on May 27, 2004.
Earlier this month, Elaine’s brother Wilbert and their family decided to organize search efforts in a forested area near Anzac – about 50 kilometres southeast of Fort McMurray.
It was originally Wilbert’s father who reached out to RCMP to conduct his own investigation.
When the elder Alook passed away in 2015, Wilbert took up the reins and continued efforts.
Wilbert tells Mix News they were tipped off about the area after two individuals reported having seen his sister there.
“The focus needs to be – what can we get out of being able to work on a plan that will benefit us in terms of a little bit more closure. Instead of looking at a police file, let’s go out and do this.”
According to police, Elaine was last seen wearing a black jacket, blue jeans and a cast from a recovering broken arm.
Search efforts have suspended until spring.
Wilbert says that even if attempts to find Elaine are unsuccessful, they are happy to continue raising awareness towards missing indigenous peoples.
He adds all the entire family can do, including Elaine’s four kids is hope and pray for closure.
“It’s their mother, they still love her and there is no doubt about that,” Wilbert stated. “Maybe in the back of their minds, and I am not really sure but they keep hoping one day things will change and she’ll come walking in through the door. That’s the only hope we all have as a family.”
Wilbert says in the springtime, as part of traditional Cree philosophy, they will ignite a sacred fire for four days of prayer and spiritual healing.
He says if he could say one thing to Elaine, it would be that she is missed and loved and to come home.